One part You by Caroline Kepnes and one part Parasite: a dark and hypnotic novel about obsession and what happens when we twist the truth too far . . .
They wanted the perfect family picture.
She wanted their perfect life.
Delta Dawn may have come from humble beginnings, but she has been photographing children's parties for Manhattan's elite for several years. She moves unnoticed through the luxurious homes of her clients, carefully observing their beautiful clothes, their furniture and art. The parties themselves are often far from perfect, full of spoiled, crying children, but Delta can always alter the images afterwards to make sure the parents only see the party they wanted. The realities of life can be forgotten with a little airbrushing or filter.
But when she is hired to photograph Natalie Straub's 11th birthday party, Delta finds herself irresistibly attracted. This time, she imagines she is in the pictures with them - she would fit there so perfectly, wouldn't she, in their gorgeous home, their elegant life? Delta begins by babysitting for Natalie, slowly befriending Amelia, finding opportunities to listen to Fritz; soon she's bathing in the master bathtub, reading private documents, drinking their expensive wine, and eyeing the beautifully finished garden apartment - if only the current occupant could be made to leave ...
And then Delta discovers the one thing Amelia Straub wants most is also the perfect way to ensure she will always stay part of the family.
Combining pin-sharp storytelling with a tantalising build of menace, and a dangerously magnetic lead character, The Photographer heralds the arrival of a brilliant new crime writer for fans of Caroline Kepnes and Gillian Flynn.
A twisted, dark, psychological thriller, The Photographer by Mary Dixie Carter is a riveting and unsettling read. I couldn't put it down - Lisa Lutz, New York Times bestselling author of The Passenger
Unsettling from page one, Mary Dixie Carter's The Photographer follows an insidious photographer as she wheedles her way into the home of the clients she idolizes, permanently altering the course of all their lives. Masterful storytelling in a unique voice . . . this remarkable debut is sure to keep you riveted! - Katherine St. John, author of The Lion s Den
The tension simmers brilliantly in this addictive and intricately constructed story of beauty, longing and the shadow side of desire. By holding up a mirror to our modern-day obsessions, Mary Dixie Carter shows us the futility of chasing greener grass and the madness that begins with picture-perfection. After reading The Photographer, the phrase 'living the dream' takes on a whole new and chilling meaning - Anna Downes, international bestselling author of The Safe Place
Why create the perfect life when you can just insert yourself into someone else's? Mary Dixie Carter's The Photographer is You meets Parasite, and I inhaled every dark, twisted moment of this brilliant thriller. Sharply observant, tense, and totally hypnotic, The Photographer is the most addictive suspense novel I've read in years - Jennifer Hillier, award-winning author of Jar of Hearts and Little Secrets
As sharply focused and mesmerizing as a magic trick and a good deal creepier than most - Kirkus
Reading Mary Dixie Carter's The Photographer - which I did in one riveted sitting - is like encountering a masterfully manipulated photograph that just keeps developing before one's eyes. The result is one of the most provocatively chilling debut novels I have read in a long time - John Burnham Schwartz
The menacing, manipulative lead character drew me in from chapter one and wouldn't let me go. Creepy and gripping - I loved it! - Jackie Kabler, USA Today and Kindle bestselling author of The Perfect Couple
As a journalist, Mary Dixie Carter's writing has appeared in TIME, The Economist, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Sun, the New York Observer and more. She worked at the Observer for five years, where she served as the publishing director. In addition to writing, she also has a background as a professional actor. Mary Dixie graduated from Harvard College with an honours degree in English Literature and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young children. The Photographer is her debut novel.