Efrem Sigel

Book cover image

Narrated By: Anthony Heald

Duration: 10 hours and 26 minutes

What to expect

When Joshua and Nathalie Sandler's only child, fourteen-year-old Daniel, disappears one day in a town in western Massachusetts, their world changes in an instant. Over the next year, Joshua neglects everything else to search ceaselessly for their son, while Nathalie, a gifted cellist, withdraws into herself, unable to play a note of music.

With lyrical prose and building suspense, Sigel portrays the anguish of parents who, despite the crushing burden of uncertainty and grief, must continue to live their lives. We meet various townspeople with motives and secrets of their own who might be involved in the disappearance or its aftermath. There is the mean-spirited president of the Board of Selectmen, neighbors who either come forward to help or who hide evidence, a deeply human police chief, half a dozen troubled teenagers, and a dark-haired, passionate young woman with secrets of her own, who is drawn to Joshua and his plight.As the mystery of Daniel's disappearance deepens, Joshua and Nathalie struggle to find new meaning in their existence—and to discover if their fragmented marriage can ever be made whole again.


Crime and mystery fiction, Fiction: general and literary

Listen to a sample

“Efrem Sigel does much more than chronicle a father’s frantic search to discover what happened to his teenage son. With sensitivity and grace, he charts the range of emotions that this crisis triggers, revealing the inner workings of the hearts of the parents and the darker side of life in their seemingly idyllic summer home in Western Massachusetts. A taut, highly-charged drama, filled with both nightmares and dreams.”

Andrew Nagorski, author of The Greatest Battle, LA Times Book Prize finalist

“This is a gripping, suspenseful and lyrically moving novel about the ultimate domestic nightmare: the vanishing of one’s child. Sigel knows how to sustain tension but more so, how to get inside the heads and hearts of good people overwhelmed by catastrophe. It is, finally, a love story, all the more powerful for its complex exploration of how human beings can endure the savage pain of loss.”


“Mystery turns the pages, but it’s Sigel’s insights into the manifestation of grief that elevates this above most kid-gone-missing tales.”


“Powerful and elegantly crafted…[a] subtle and probing look at the consequences of a tragedy.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Gripping, emotional, and tender…a story about real people in real situations, written in lean, efficient prose in which every word has a precise function, and there are no wasted or unnecessary words. Sigel is clearly a talented storyteller, and the novel has a deep emotional core that will resonate with any reader, whether or not they are a parent, whether or not they’ve ever gone through anything as harrowing as what these characters are going through.”


“Anthony Heald is a most expressive audio book narrator. He conveys the sadness and strength of the characters and is equally good in describing the settings, whether the seasons in Massachusetts or the furniture in a nursing home. He also masterfully and easily voices differences in age, sex and social class in subtly distinctive ways.”


“Compelling.  Efrem Sigel confronts a parent’s darkest fear—the mysterious disappearance of a beloved child.  Tautly told, permeated with suspense, The Disappearance captures the cadence of life in a small town riven by social divide and exposes both the frailties and strengths of a complex marriage.” 

Gloria Goldreich, author of the acclaimed Leah's Journey

“A wonderful novel—profoundly imagined, beautifully written, filled with people we recognize and care about, suffused with the sadness of everyday life, streaked with moments of compassion and even joy. A remarkable achievement.”

Max Byrd, author Jefferson, Jackson, Grant and Shooting the Sun

“An old-fashioned novel—in the best sense: fully invested in character and story, and written with the ease and authority that were the hallmark of fiction when the novel was at the forefront of our culture.”