The Photographer: A Novel (Hardcover)

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(New Fiction Hardcover)

Staff Reviews

The author had the experience of hiring an excellent photographer to capture her daughter’s birthday. When she was going through the pictures she noticed her daughter’s eyes were a more piercing blue than in reality. Apparently, this is common practice for photographers to slightly alter reality to make events more pleasing. In this fast-paced thriller, we follow a photographer and her altered reality. Frightening and compelling this novel will have you rethinking who you bring into your home long after you finish. 
– Kim B
Check out the Audiobook and the eBook

— From Jittery June Staff Picks

June 2021 Indie Next List

“Mary Dixie Carter’s debut is a standout psychological suspense! With excellent pacing and a completely addictive style, The Photographer is exactly the kind of book you want to read in one sitting. This is a sneaky and unsettling read that’ll leave you guessing from start to finish.”
— Becky LeJeune, BookBar, Denver, CO


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.


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.


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.


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.

About the Author

MARY DIXIE CARTER’s writing has appeared in TIME, The Economist, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Sun, The New York Observer and other print and online publications. She worked at The Observer for five years, where she served as the publishing director. In addition to writing, she also has a background as a professional actor. Mary Dixie graduated from Harvard College with an honors degree in English Literature and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two young children. The Photographer is her first novel.

Praise For…

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
" Bets On" Selection—
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

Product Details
ISBN: 9781250790330
ISBN-10: 1250790336
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: May 25th, 2021
Pages: 304
Language: English