Review: The Disappearance by Efrem Sigel

Title: The Disappearance
Author: Efrem Sigel
ISBN: 978-1-57962-180-3 Pages: 262, $30.00, Publication Date: February 2009, Cloth, Fiction, Published by The Permanent Press.

Reviewed by Clark Isaacs. Visit Clark Isaacs at

The Disappearance by Efrem Sigel is a gripping novel about a search for truth and what is behind the mysterious disappearance of Dan Sandler. Sigel presents a powerful main character, Joshua Sandler, who relentlessly pursues what happened to his son. Efrem Sigel is an award winning author who wrote The Kermanshah Transfer and five books of non-fiction.

Joshua, Nathalie, and Dan Sandler seemed to have the idyllic life. Joshua a busy New York businessman and his wife a former cellist had retreated to their summer home called The Hollow. This is a small town in western Massachusetts with a population of 160 people.

Dan, the Sandler’s only child, suddenly disappears from their home on a warm summer August day. Over the next year, events that follow are haunting and portray many hidden secrets in this unique town.

Incessantly driven, Joshua and Chief Sammons interrogate townspeople, but very few clues are developed. Many intriguing characters try to help, but no one has seen a thing. Dan’s so-called friends appear to have solid excuses for the day that he was last seen and these troubled teens have a way of hiding the truth.

The story moves quickly as interrogation and search continue. Uncertainty becomes more focused than what may have really happened. The gravity of emotional grief becomes unbearable for the parents resulting in the unraveling of their marriage.

Some missteps occur. An interesting dark-haired woman complicates Joshua’s life with her secrets and is drawn into his search. A mean-spirited town leader also has something to hide and holds a vicious campaign against a newly planned resort for the community. Joshua wonders if the resort is somehow related to his missing son. Now, the plot gets cloudy. An overlooked clue eventually helps in the resolution of this mystery.

Sigel beautifully depicts the inhabitants of The Hollow with realism and weaves a powerful story about a family’s struggle for their missing child. Joshua and Nathalie’s marriage is challenged by the ongoing investigation.

A highly charged book that will keep you guessing as the story unfolds to its conclusion while displaying an unrelenting love by a father for his son. A great read and highly recommended.


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