Stranger Child is Rachel Abbott’s fourth book but rest assured, she hasn’t run out of good ideas yet.
Emma Joseph is married to David a successful man whose first wife, Caroline, died in a car accident six years before. Emma lives with the reminder of her beauty in a painting and the memories of the long years where she supported him with his grief because David didn’t just lose his wife in the accident before the emergency services arrived his six-year-old daughter, Natasha, disappeared, seemingly into thin air. Finally life is looking up and Emma and David have had baby Ollie and Emma is enjoying motherhood and then one day everything changes,
What would you do if you were at home gazing out of the kitchen window and this happened?
It was a pair of eyes. A pair of eyes that were behind her, watching. Close behind her. In her kitchen. A beam of sunlight burst through the black clouds, hitting the kitchen window and obliterating the reflection as if it had never been there. Emma’s fingers gripped the edge of the sink. Had she imagined it? But as quickly as the sun had come out, it was chased away by the squally clouds and the mirror image returned. Locking eyes with the ghostly reflection that ebbed and flowed as the light outside adjusted from black to grey, Emma groped along the draining board, searching with her fingers for a weapon. Reaching up to the cutlery holder, she felt a sharp pain and a rush of liquid warmth as her fingers grasped the blade of a sharp boning knife, and she followed the steel down to grip the handle with damp, sticky fingers.
It doesn’t take long before Emma calls on her friend DCI Tom Douglas, who readers of Rachel Abbott’s previous books will remember. In my mind’s eye he is dashingly gorgeous and a thoroughly upright Police Officer who really cares about the victims in the cases he investigates. Anyway I digress, Emma soon realises that perhaps in this situation she shouldn’t have involved the Police as things get much, much worse.
I love a good psychological thriller and this one definitely has the thrill aspect at its heart assisted by the fast pace full of tension from the opening sentence.This is one of those books that I shelve under compulsive reading, I know from the start that I’m in for a treat and I just have to keep flicking the pages to see what delightful twist will present itself on the next page, to observe each character adapt as they accustom themselves to new pieces of information the events unfold. One of the things I love about Rebecca Abbott’s writing is that her characters feel realistic because they react like real people even in extraordinary situations, although there are several people in this book that I wouldn’t fancy meeting on a dark night, or even in broad daylight! As in the previous books Tom Douglas is working with Becky Robinson and it is lovely to have such a supportive working relationship within crime fiction and although we only ever get snippets of their personal lives it is clear that Tom is still struggling to come to terms with his elder brother’s death some years before.
The only complaint I have is that the short chapters that break up the 350+ pages meant that I felt like a child again as I murmured to myself, just one more chapter, at least a dozen times after I should have been fast asleep and saying to your colleagues that you’re tired because you read too much the night before didn’t really garner me much sympathy.
If you haven’t read any of Rachel Abbott’s earlier books in this series, you really should although each one can be comfortably be read as a stand-alone as no reference is made to previous cases so once you’re hooked you can start at the beginning.
I was given a copy of this book to read and review prior to the publication date of 24 February 2015.
Rachel Abbott is the UK’s most successful independently published author. She was born just outside Manchester. She became a systems analyst, forming her own software company in the mid-80s and selling it in 2000. She then moved with her husband to Italy and bought a small ruined monastery with its own chapel, restoring it and making it into a home. In 2009 she decided to try writing a novel. Only The Innocent was published in 2011 and was a number 1 e-book bestseller for four weeks from mid-February 2012. Her subsequent books, The Back Road and Sleep Tight, were also bestsellers. Her work is translated into seven languages. Following the report of her million sales in The Sunday Times, Rachel Abbott declared herself ‘astounded’ by the numbers, and by the fact that her first three books had remained in the Amazon Kindle top 100 for the best part of six months.
Buy your copy from Amazon
You can also contact Rachel Abbott at the following places and if you act quickly you can join in with her launch party next week which I will be attending to try and win one of the prizes!
Web : rachel-abbott.com
The Rachel Abbot Books in order:
Read more about the previous books in the series:
Only The Innocent
When Laura Fletcher approaches her home in Oxfordshire to find hordes of photographers crowding the gates, she knows there is something terribly wrong. She is faced with the shocking news that her husband is dead –
brutally murdered – and according to Chief Inspector Tom Douglas, there is little doubt that the murderer is a woman.
In a marriage that has taken her from the glamorous five sar luxury of London, Venice and Positano to a bleak and draughty manor house in rural Oxfordshire, Laura has learned to guard her secrets well. She is not alone. It would appear that all the women in her husband’s life have something to hide.
But there is one secret that she has never shared, and when the investigation reaches its dramatic and horrific climax, she realises that she has no choice. She has to give Tom Douglas the final piece of the puzzle. And this changes everything, leaving Douglas with a terrible dilemma: whether to punish the guilty, or protect the innocent.
The Back Road
A girl lies close to death in a dark, deserted lane.
A driver drags her body to the side of the road.
A shadowy figure hides in the trees, watching and waiting.
The small community of Little Melham is in shock.
For Ellie Saunders, last night’s hit and run on the back road could destroy everything she has. She was out that night, but if she reveals where she was and why, her family will be torn apart. She is living on a knife-edge, knowing that her every move is being observed.
Ellie’s new neighbour, former Detective Chief Inspector Tom Douglas has moved to the village for some well-deserved peace and quiet, but as he is drawn into the web of deceit his every instinct tells him that what happened that night was more than a tragic accident.
As past and present collide, best-kept secrets are revealed and lives are devastated. Only one person knows the whole story. And that person will protect the truth no matter what the cost.
click on the book cover to read my review