Mary Dixie Carter's The Photographer is a slyly observed, suspenseful story of envy and obsession, told in the mesmerizing, irresistible voice of a character who will make you doubt that seeing is ever believing.
"A breathless psychological thriller about epic mind games."—PEOPLE
A Publishers Weekly Best Mystery/Thriller of 2021!
WHEN PERFECT IMAGES
As a photographer, Delta Dawn observes the seemingly perfect lives of New York City’s elite: snapping photos of their children’s birthday parties, transforming images of stiff hugs and tearstained faces into visions of pure joy, and creating moments these parents long for.
ARE MADE OF BEAUTIFUL LIES
But when Delta is hired for Natalie Straub’s eleventh birthday, she finds herself wishing she wasn’t behind the lens but a part of the scene—in the Straub family’s gorgeous home and elegant life.
THE TRUTH WILL BE EXPOSED
That’s when Delta puts her plan in place, by babysitting for Natalie; befriending her mother, Amelia; finding chances to listen to her father, Fritz. Soon she’s bathing in the master bathtub, drinking their expensive wine, and eyeing the beautifully finished garden apartment in their townhouse. It seems she can never get close enough, until she discovers that photos aren’t all she can manipulate.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
This daring psychological thriller puts you directly into the mind of a woman who thinks reality can be altered as easily as a digital image. Photographer Delta Dawn knows exactly how to craft perfect moments for her high-class clientele—or how to manufacture them with a bit of Photoshop. When superstar architects Amelia and Fritz Straub hire her to shoot their daughter’s birthday party, Delta becomes obsessed with the unattainable perfection of their seemingly flawless lives…and wants to be part of it. Mary Dixie Carter expertly plays on our curiosity and voyeurism as we’re lured down the spiral of Delta’s crazed infatuation. We were totally on edge throughout this suspenseful read, anticipating what Carter’s heroine will do when the truth threatens the fantasy she’s meticulously constructed, pixel by pixel. Horrifying and seductive, The Photographer will keep you up past your bedtime turning pages.
Delta Dawn, the narrator of Carter's outstanding debut, is a much-sought-after photographer of children's fetes among Brooklyn's artsy set, who has the ability to create picture-perfect moments of connection that never were through the magic of Photoshop and other manipulations. Trouble is, the egocentric young woman approaches life in similarly subjective fashion. Emotionally starved by her own parents, Delta hungers for family even if it means insinuating herself into someone else's, like that of her new clients, the Straubs: interior design guru Amelia; Amelia's scruffily hunky architect hubby, Fritz; and needy 11-year-old birthday girl, Natalie. Using her well-honed manipulative skills, plus a timely offer to babysit, Delta swiftly gains the run of the Straubs' brownstone, as well as ample opportunity to discover some of their most intimate secrets which she aims to leverage to her advantage. Delta arguably the inevitable product of a social media driven universe where carefully curated images supplant messy reality becomes increasingly scary as the depth of her obsession with the Straubs becomes apparent. Brace for hold-your-breath suspense from this dazzlingly devious newcomer.