This is Paula Daly’s debut novel, and boy is this one disturbing tale about a missing child which I had on my TBR for sometime before I read her second novel Keep Your Friends Close. Having had a taste of the author’s superb writing I dusted off this one and settled down to immerse myself in an extreme domestic drama.
Linda Castillo is your typical harassed mother, juggling children, work and along with the other day to day chores that need to be attended to. When Linda’s daughter Sally is ill and off school, Linda forgets to tell Kate Riverty that her daughter Lucinda won’t be able to stay over as planned. With the sleepover cancelled without warning the consequences are high because Lucinda goes missing and no-one realises until she doesn’t turn up at school the next day.
This is a heart-stopping start to what is one of the most accomplished of all the psychological thrillers I have read this year. What makes it so powerful is that it is only too believable. Linda is a well-rounded, flawed, but only in the way we all are, mother. Kate on the other-hand is a highly organised mother who can’t understand the laxity shown by lesser mortals after all she has two high-achieving children, she is involved on school committees and throws dinner parties for the worthy and the good; Kate was only invited once and soon dismissed when it became clear that she didn’t belong.
The search is led by DC Joanne Aspinall who is a highly likeable and practical woman, someone who knows what life is all about and her interactions with all the other characters were some of my favourite parts. Meanwhile with the sting of being publicly blamed for Lucinda’s disappearance, and fearing even her husband blames her, Kate starts her own investigation determined to help find out what happened to Lucinda. The tale is interspersed with some truly creepy thoughts from a man who is interested in young girls while the main narrative is shared between DC Aspinall and Kate Riverty.
This is one of those books I really couldn’t put down, so it was lucky I was lying by a pool with the only interruptions coming in the form of a new drink being delivered. Even better the ending wasn’t a disappointment which is always a danger after such a terrific build-up.
So to sum up, a devastatingly good plot, perfect timing to create the upmost tensions and characters that you believe in, results a book that no one who loves a good psychological thriller should miss.
I thoroughly recommend this and Paula Daly’s second novel Keep Your Friends Close if you like books that make you question what you would do in the same situation.