"A juicy thriller" (Entertainment Weekly) · "Absorbing" (USA Today) · "Dark and thoughtful" (Washington Post) · "Gratifying" (Wall Street Journal) · "Sun-soaked noir" (LA Review of Books)
A spellbinding novel of psychological suspense that follows a young archivist’s obsession with her subject’s mysterious death as it threatens to destroy her fragile grasp on sanity.
When the famed photographer Miranda Brand died mysteriously at the height of her career, it sent shock waves through Callinas, California. Decades later, old wounds are reopened when her son Theo hires the ex-journalist Kate Aitken to archive his mother’s work and personal effects.
As Kate sorts through the vast maze of material and contends with the vicious rumors and shocking details of Miranda's private life, she pieces together a portrait of a vibrant artist buckling under the pressures of ambition, motherhood, and marriage. But Kate has secrets of her own, including a growing attraction to the enigmatic Theo, and when she stumbles across Miranda's diary, her curiosity spirals into a dangerous obsession.
A seductive, twisting tale of psychological suspense, Take Me Apart draws readers into the lives of two darkly magnetic young women pinned down by secrets and lies. Sara Sligar's electrifying debut is a chilling, thought-provoking take on art, illness, and power, from a spellbinding new voice in suspense.
Sligar's perceptive debut follows two women who appear collected on the surface but silently endure struggles. After 30-year-old Kate Aitken loses her copyediting job at a New York newspaper amid a disbelieved sexual harassment complaint against her superior, she moves to Northern California to take on a temporary archivist position, where she's tasked with organizing the personal papers of photographer Miranda Brand, whose death two decades earlier was ruled a suicide. Supervised by Miranda's adult son, Theo, Kate spends hours sifting through letters, receipts, and prints, and begins to suspect Miranda was murdered. As she builds her case, sneaking around to interview locals who knew the artist, Kate develops feelings for Theo and his two young children, and begins to shut out anything not involving the Brands. Alternating between chapters focusing on Kate and epistolary documents by the tormented Miranda, Sligar reveals Miranda's unraveling throughout her brilliant career as she labors with parenthood and life with a manipulative husband. Though the novel falters somewhat in its home stretch, Sligar shows off a keen ear for dialogue, and Kate and Miranda hold interest. With a cool style and fast pace, Sligar achieves a propulsive exploration of these ambitious women's inner turbulence in response to an abusive man in each of their lives.