The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos is a strange, wonderful mystery that takes you
through not only the lives of several interesting characters but into the native mythology of
Lily Martinez was a teenager when her best friend, Irene Dos Santos, disappeared into the
rain forest on a camping trip with Lily and her family. She tried to go on with her life, but
the day she finds an old letter from Irene she slips and falls, risking not only her life but
the life of her soon to be born baby. As family and friends gather around to enact a ritual to
bring the baby safely into the world, their stories begin to piece together the mystery of what
happened to Irene Dos Santos.
The book is composed of the memories and opinions of several different characters. While
some are part of Lily’s extended family others are rogue narrators, appearing to provide their
own clue in the search for Irene’s fate. Each chapter gives another character a chance to tell
his/her tale and, as they recount their memories, little hints about Irene are revealed.
The story is very well-written and every character so expertly portrayed that one writer takes
on the unique voice of several characters. It is a naughty thrill to peek into the very private
lives of each storyteller, not only learning the stories themselves, but also the background issues
that only exist in the characters' minds. As we read, we learn just how much the life and
disappearance of Irene has affected this extended family.
At first, readers may think they have figured out the whole mystery, only to be thrown off
track. The story captures the reader and doesn’t let him/her go until the last clue is revealed.
It is thrilling, complicated, and not to be missed.