Watch Her Disappear – Eva Dolan


Watch Her Disappear was published on 26 January 2017 by Vintage Digital and is available to buy here


The body is found by the river, near a spot popular with runners.

With a serial rapist at work in the area, DI Zigic and DS Ferreira are initially confused when the Hate Crimes Unit is summoned to the scene. Until they discover that the victim, Corinne Sawyer, was born Colin Sawyer.

Police records reveal there have been violent attacks on trans women in the local area. Was Corinne a victim of mistaken identity? Or has the person who has been targeting trans women stepped up their campaign of violence? With tensions running high, and the force coming under national scrutiny, this is a complex case and any mistake made could be fatal…

Previously in the series: Long Way Home Tell No Tales and After You Die

My thoughts

We are now at the fourth story in Eva Dolan’s superb series set in a Hate Crimes police department in Peterborough, with Watch Her Disappear. Dolan has her finger on the pulse of what is hot. Therefore it is of little surprise that this time, her subject is the trans community and LGBTQ hate crime.

The story follows the murder of a trans woman, Corinne Sawyer. Corinne was previously Colin. She has a complicated personal history, with a soon to be ex-wife and children plus a new partner. Her death brings trans hate crime into the spotlight locally. Was this simply a random hate crime, with someone attacking a known trans woman? Or is it more personal, with the guilty culprit closer to home? This is not an easy case for Zigic and Ferrera. This is a closed community, that does not want to draw attention to itself.

Trans hate crime is a tricky subject. It is nasty. That is the beauty of crime fiction, it allows dark and disturbing subjects to be explored. Eva Dolan does a remarkable job in making the trans community seem very real and raw. The whole plot is seeped in reality, with the emotional side of change explored as much as the looking at the effect on partners and children.

She lets us get to know Corinne and see her life in all its glory, warts and all. This is a very human portrait of one person. Corinne comes across as being not very likeable and complicated. I still felt sorry for her. Through Corinne and other members of the community, we start to get an understanding of what it must be like to feel different and to want to change yourself. This can totally impact on family and relationship dynamics, We see the mixed reactions, from bewilderment to blind hatred. We see how people relate differently to Colin as a man, then as a woman via Corinne. It is actually really fascinating, the shifting identity of one person and its societal impact.

No one can leave After You Disappear without having much food for thought. It is a well thought out and superb whodunnit, with a clever contemporary spin. It has the signature intelligence of Eva Dolan. Who killed Corinne? You will want to know! Recommended.


About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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