In Rachel Abbott’s fourth book, Stranger Child, published earlier this year we met Natasha Joseph, or Tash as she is more normally called. Tash had returned to the home of her father, six years after she had disappeared without trace where she meets her father’s second wife Emma. In this short follow up Rachel Abbott, after calls from her many fans, allows the reader learn what happened to Tash after the open ending as far as her part of the story is concerned.
I met Rachel in our local Waterstones in the summer when she told me of this plan, and to be honest I was unsure. I was quite happy with the admittedly open ending, and not entirely sure that we need to know everything, but then I got my copy and I changed my mind…
Rachel has managed to keep up the high standards and weave an evocative tale for Tash who we first meet sheltering in a tunnel, cold and hungry, but she has a most appealing friend Andy who is helping to keep her safe on the streets of Manchester, unaware that she was caught up in the kidnap of her father’s son, Ollie, a dear little baby who got caught up in a plot that began when Tash’s mother died and she disappeared for six years.
DI Tom Douglas of course, plays his role to perfection, I admit I am becoming increasingly fond of this decent policeman who features in all of Rachel’s books. Emma is out on the streets offering cake to the homeless in the hope that someone will tell her where to find Tash but nine months on and she is no closer to finding her. Then someone offers Andy serious money to tell them where she is. Tash wonders if the police are offering money so that she can be arrested or perhaps they want her to testify at the trial of the man arrested following the kidnap plot. Or even more terrifying perhaps her original captors want her back! With Andy’s help Tash makes more concerted efforts to hide, but will she succeed?
This short book paints a picture of life on the streets for young teens, which felt realistic, the descriptions of hunger cold made me feel guilty as I was curled up in my nice warm house with a plentiful supply of food. Despite being an addition to the previous book, this one doesn’t have a pedestrian feel, the tension mounts to a high level as the hunted Tash desperately tries to avoid being captured.
To enjoy Nowhere Child, you really do need to have read Stranger Child, but if you haven’t you can read this back to back for a fully rounded tale although I’m almost tempted to ask Rachel to give us Andy’s backstory – a wonderful secondary character, bought to life in a few but well-chosen words.
Nowhere Child will be published on 14 October 2015.
Rachel Abbott has been named as Amazon’s bestselling #1 independent author in the UK over the last five years and #14 of all authors on kindle over the same period – we can’t all be wrong, if you haven’t tried her books, you really should!