Jill Lassiter’s three-year-old daughter disappears from a playground only to return after 40 frantic minutes, but her mother’s relief is short-lived–there’s a tiny puncture mark on Sophia’s arm. When doctors can find no trace of drugs in her system, Jill accepts she’ll never know what happened, but at least her child is safe.
Except Sophia isn’t. Someone is watching the Lassiter home in an affluent Pennsylvania suburb, infiltrating the family’s personal and professional lives. While Jill struggles to balance building her photography business with parenting high-spirited Sophia, and David is distracted by pressure to make partner at his law firm, both of them are holding on in a marriage that’s already been rocked by loss.
Three months after the incident at the park, Sophia disappears again, but this time Jill and David become the focus of police and media scrutiny and suspicion. Facing every parent’s worst nightmare a second time, Jill discovers that someone doesn’t just want Sophia for her own, she wants to destroy the entire family.
I am a sucker for thrillers, and there seems to be lots of this ‘missing children’ subsection coming onto the market at the moment. I feel like this is a solid effort and a really enjoyable novel to read, but also feel that this is a tricky book to give a rating to; on the one hand the story and writing kept me really intrigued and wanting to read on, but on the other it didn’t feel quite as well crafted as some other similar novels, and the characters didn’t strike a chord with me quite as much.
I have to say, I really like Rebecca Drake’s writing. The novel feels well crafted and put together, with parts that left me feeling a whole range of conflicting emotions. I didn’t love Bea as a character; I felt she was a bit annoying at times but I still felt a huge amount of sympathy for her and what she must be going through despite this, and despite the fact that I’m not a mother myself. I feel that this is a testament to Drake’s skilful writing. The way the police and people around Bea and her husband David react seems quite realistic, sadly, and I feel that the narrative in this way rings true.
There are clues and hints throughout the novel, and though parts are quite predictable it still left me guessing until the end, with elements that surprised me. The second half of the novel definitely ramps up the tension and I felt real hatred for one character in particular as the novel went on! There’s no need for crazy action sequences or ridiculous twists; this novel relies on a slow build-up of tension and drama into a satisfying crescendo that isn’t too unbelievable.
I didn’t necessarily feel that this was a stand out novel in this genre, having read so many brilliant examples over the last few months, but I enjoyed reading it anyway and would recommend this as an easy to read, but very entertaining and suspenseful novel.
* Many thanks to St Martin’s Press and Netgalley for providing a copy of this novel in return for an honest review *