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My parents seem to be the perfect couple. But no one knows what I know…

Everyone in the small Midwestern town of Henderson looks up to my perfect parents. With dependable jobs as a midwife and the town sheriff, they help this close-knit community feel safe. But the locals didn’t grow up in my parents’ house. They don’t know what I know. And they wouldn’t believe me if I told them…

After my best friend vanished when we were just fifteen, I left town and never looked back. I couldn’t prove it, but I think my parents killed her.

Now, years later, my little sister has vanished. I have no choice but to go home and play happy families again. Because I have to find out what my parents have done to her. I have to try to save her.

But when bones are discovered on a local farm, and all the evidence leads back to our front door, I realize I was wrong about absolutely everything. And that coming back was the deadliest thing I could do…

TheBigThrill caught up with bestselling author Wendy Dranfield to learn more about her most recent crime thriller, THE NIGHT SHE VANISHED:

Wendy Dranfield

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?

It all started with the main character—Nicole. She revealed her backstory to me slowly, and I realized her problems revolve around the fact that she’s estranged from her parents and younger sibling. Estrangement is something I have experience of, so I explored that in more depth, trying to answer the question: if we can’t even trust our own parents, who can we trust? Nicole suffers from the estrangement even though it’s occurred through no fault of her own. That resonated with me due to my own family circumstances.


A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?

My publisher and I were negotiating my third contract when they asked me to come up with plots for my next 3 books. My publisher wasn’t keen on the first idea I had in mind, so they asked me to come up with something else. Ten minutes later I presented them with the complete outline of THE NIGHT SHE VANISHED, made up on the spot, and they loved it. So did I. I had to write two other books before I could start work on THE NIGHT SHE VANISHED, but I thought about it the entire time. The characters wouldn’t leave me alone!

What can you share about what you’re working on next?

I’m contracted for two more books in my Detective Madison Harper series, plus another standalone thriller. I have no idea what any of them are going to be about yet, which is both scary and exciting.


Wendy Dranfield is the bestselling author of the Detective Madison Harper crime series.

She is a former coroner’s assistant turned crime writer who writes a mixture of standalone thrillers, crime series and short stories. Some of her books have been shortlisted for various writing competitions and awards, including the Mslexia novel competition and the International Thriller Writer Awards.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.

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