A June 2021 Indie Next Pick!
One of the "5 Books Not to Miss"USA Today
One of the "2021 Debuts You Should Add to Your TBR Pile"Frolic
One of the "Debut Novels to Have on Your 2021 TBR"Bookish
One of the "Best Beach Reads of Summer 2021"SheReads
One of the "Spring and Summer Thriller and Mystery Must-Reads"Ms. Career Girl
One of the "PW Summer Reads 2021"Publishers Weekly
"BookReporter.com Bets On" SelectionBookreporter.com
One of the "Titles To Watch 2021"Library Journal
One of the "Best Beach Reads of 2021"Brit + Co
"Photographer Delta Dawn is one disturbing woman, especially when she inserts herself into a wealthy Manhattan family. A breathless psychological thriller about epic mind games."PEOPLE ("Best Books Summer 2021," Mystery & Thriller)
"I’ve rarely felt as unnerved by a novel as I did after reading Mary Dixie Carter’s THE PHOTOGRAPHER, a debut that trains a literal lens on aspiration, envy and overweening obsession. The depths to which Delta insinuates herself into their lives, and the reader’s growing realization that her fixation on the family can end only in the worst possible way, make the ensuing narrative climax all the more shocking for its unexpected twist."New York Times Book Review
"Brace for hold-your-breath suspense from this dazzlingly devious newcomer. "Publishers Weekly (Starred)
"As sharply focused and mesmerizing as a magic trick and a good deal creepier than most."Kirkus Reviews
"The sense of impending disaster is palpable, as the suspense and tension grow, and what happens at the end is unexpected and odd. Creepy, dark, and suspenseful . . . A gripping read."Booklist
"[An] explosive debut."Library Journal
"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
"Mary Dixie Carter's The Photographer will have you wondering what's real and what's not on every page of this brilliant debut thriller."Jennifer Hillier, author of Jar of Hearts, in EW's "12 Authors of Their Must-Read Summer Thriller Picks"
"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, author of Reservation Road and The Red Daughter
"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
“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
"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 of 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
"No knife blades or handguns in this explosive-enough domestic drama. Emotions fuel this psychological thriller, with the manipulative Delta attempting to reorder the lives of those around her, on the order of Eve Harrington in "All About Eve" (1950). Moreover, Carter doesn't overwrite her material. It's perfect for a weekend excursion, or at home in your own four walls."David Marshall James
"Rest assured, that while Delta Dawn has many traits we have seen in other characters in the crime fiction canon, Mary Dixie Carter has somehow made her feel fresh, unusual, and utterly dangerous. Every page turn is like another detour around crazy town. Mary Dixie Carter’s The Photographer is a fast read that consumes the mind of the reader until the final page is turned."BOLO Books
"Mary Dixie Carter’s affinity for creating a multi-layered character and an unnerving plot soars in her sizzling debut The Photographer . . . Carter, a journalist, takes the unreliable narrator to a new level as Delta’s conversations are loaded with lies. The Photographer puts a new talent in focus."South Florida Sun Sentinel, Oline Cogdill
DEBUT The brilliant photographer Delta Dawn has built her career by capturing memories for New York's elite. Shooting intimate family moments simultaneously fills her with joy and utter sadness, because it reminds her of what's missing from her own life. When she's hired by Amelia and Fritz Straub to photograph their daughter Natalie's 11th birthday party, Delta immediately becomes attached to the family and harbors a deep desire to become a permanent part of the Straub clan. She befriends Amelia and is soon at the Straubs' complete disposal. Delta's frenzied mental state continuously pushes her own limits, until the moment when she goes too far. Following Delta's perspective throughout the novel allows readers to see just how disturbing and calculating her behavior has become. Amelia and Fritz are irritatingly unaware of Delta's manipulations, only catching on when she reaches a level of strangeness that can't be overlooked. Their self-absorbed decisions and apathetic treatment of Natalie are cringe-worthy, which may cause readers to have little sympathy for the Straubs' predicament. VERDICT Despite the heightened emotional state and slow burn throughout the novel, readers will be disappointed by Carter's sudden, surprisingly dull conclusion.—Carmen Clark, Elkhart P.L., IN
Journalist Carter’s debut novel follows a Crown Heights family photographer deep into the heart of a family she wants to do much more than photograph.
Hired to shoot pictures of Natalie Straub’s 11th birthday party, Delta Dawn can’t help looking around when she’s not peering through the viewfinder. What she sees is a home so perfectly designed and furnished by Natalie’s parents, architects Fritz and Amelia Straub, that she never wants to leave. The colors, the fabrics, the light: They’re all perfect. It’s not just the Straubs’ home Delta craves—it’s their world. She wants Amelia to see her as a friend and an equal rather than however talented a professional; she wants to take Fritz to bed—though not of course in a way that might antagonize Amelia—and she wants Natalie to love her as much as she loves Natalie’s whole family. That very night, Delta begins to insinuate herself into the Straub household, and once she begins, she never looks back, making herself more and more indispensable, yielding only so far to their attempts to set her up with Ian Walker, a blandly eligible associate in their firm, and using her editing skills to document a photographic account of her acceptance into their family circle as elaborate as it is fictional as she assures her readers, “I wanted to support their family. Honestly, I did.” When Amelia acknowledges that she’s desperate for the second child she can never carry to term, it seems like the perfect opportunity for Delta to consolidate her position in her adoptive family once and for all. Or is it?
As sharply focused and mesmerizing as a magic trick and a good deal creepier than most.