The Photographer: A Novel (Hardcover)

The Photographer: A Novel By Mary Dixie Carter Cover Image
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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.

"A breathless psychological thriller about epic mind games."—PEOPLE
A Publishers Weekly Best Mystery/Thriller of 2021!


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!
A Publishers Weekly Best Mystery/Thriller of 2021

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

"If your thirst for class-conscious (or conspicuous, rather) drama is as embarrassingly hard to slake as mine, Mary Dixie Carter's The Photographer is here for you. The book came out this summer, but it's perfect for a wintertime escape too."—Vanity Fair ("11 Books We Loved this Month", December 2021)

"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

"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

"To call any novel unputdownable is to set a bar so high that few authors can succeed in vaulting it. But Carter does so in The Photographer—and, like Shakespeare’s Macbeth, murders sleep.”—The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star

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