Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly

This was a total “keep-me-riveted-to-my-seat” thriller! And the secret is that the central character, Lisa Kallisto, is so utterly plausible. She’s everywoman – it’s impossible not to relate to her, as she juggles work, marriage and motherhood, not entirely successfully. And meanwhile she envies women like Kate Riverty, who seem to manage everything so effortlessly, and still manage to be glamorous and sophisticated.

And then the unthinkable happens – Lisa takes her eye off the ball, and Kate’s teenage daughter Lucinda goes missing on her watch. How do you tell your best friend you’re responsible?

Lisa’s guilt is palpable as she desperately to make amends. It could happen to anyone, and that’s so terrifying – life can implode without warning. But the more Lisa tries to pick up the pieces, the more the life of her friend Kate shatters in ever smaller fragments. And meanwhile, there’s a predator on the prowl….

The denoument of this novel is brilliant and not at all what I was expecting. There are red herrings galore, and lots of moral murkiness to wallow in. And the perspective of the abductor adds a level of terror that mixes with the ordinariness of the other character’s lives to make it even more chilling and realistic. We never know who people are truly thinking, so how can we trust anyone? How many liars and abusers hide in plain sight?

A gripping, thought-provoking and disturbing story. Recommended! Rating: ****

Corgi, 2014, ISBN 9780552169196

Published by Jo

Writer, Editor, Librarian

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