The Nowhere Child by Christian White

What would you do if a stranger could prove without a doubt that you aren’t the person you think you are? Would you want to know the truth and discover the who, when and how? Or would you just ignore the possibility of another life and identity?

Kim, an Australian photographer, thinks it is all some kind of sick joke when she is approached by someone who believes she is Sammy Went, a young child who went missing in the United States a few decades ago.

The premise of a missing child isn’t a new one, however the author has added an extra layer of intrigue to the basic ‘girl gone – girl found’ storyline. Nature vs nurture and whether blood takes precedence over non-blood related relationships plays a pivotal role in this story and also for Kim. The meeting with her birth-mother is fascinating and is actually a key part of the plot.

Religion is used to control the masses, and yet simultaneously it is also a factor of comfort for many people. The majority feels as if they need to be guided and live by a set of rules written by men many centuries ago, and interpreted both now and then by men in a way that suits their own agenda.

The small town Sammy disappeared from is full of members of a religious community who use bizarre dangerous practices to prove their connection with and the existence of God. This includes the family of Sammy Went. A family torn apart by the mystery, the guilt and the secrets they keep hidden despite perhaps being able to help find the child.

It’s a psychological thriller with a focus on relationships and takes the reader into the dark delusional world of cults and religious zealots. The main character struggles to connect with a past she has no recollection of and reconcile the happy childhood she experienced with her old family and her new one. It’s an excellent read.

Buy The Nowhere Child at Amazon Uk (ecopy available now) or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins; Hardcover release date 21 March 2019Paperback release date 8 August 2019Buy at Amazon com

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Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

missingIf you have watched the TV show Scott and Bailey then you will get the gist of what this book is like. Strong on the Brit police procedure and detectives with a whole load of personal baggage.

The emphasis is more on the characters and less on the alleged crime. Cue lots of drama, complicated relationships and red herrings.

Edith has disappeared without a trace. It is freezing outside, the front door is wide open and she has nothing with her. Has she been kidnapped, murdered or has she just up and left.

All leads seem to point towards something nefarious. Her love life is dysfunctional at best and she has been cavorting with known criminals. Behind the facade of the rich educated girl from an influential family seems to be an entirely different personality.

I have to say I was a little confused because the story was a bit off-balance and some of the threads seemed to go nowhere. I was pretty certain Manon’s personal path would lead to some big revelation further on down the line.

What Steiner did do quite well was keep her intentions hidden from the reader. There was literally such a plethora of avenues to explore, which led to a build-up of tension and the subconscious hope that they would finally find her dead body.  I wasn’t interested in whether she was alive any more, perhaps because there was just too much distracting the reader away from victim and her fate.

Then again that’s the whole point in a shell game. You think she is under cup A but in actual fact she isn’t under any of the cups at all.

Buy Missing, Presumed at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Scar Tissue by M.C. Domovitch

scar#I think the real question in this book is how far would you go to protect your own? How many people would you sacrifice to keep your own family safe, even to the detriment of other family members.

Would you make the same choices if you knew the person you were protecting was a danger to others?

Ciara finds herself in the middle of this type of situation, except she has no idea she is, and on top of it all she is the mouse in this game of cat and mouse.

She is found at the side of the road after being abducted, raped, tortured and then run over by a car. Not sure if it is a blessing or not, but she literally has no memory of the events at all. Of course this makes her a liability. She could remember at any moment in time and be able to point the finger at the culprit, which means she is still very much a target.

Hopefully in the next book the special talent or gift Ciara has will receive a little more attention, then again it might be a completely different character playing the lead. It will be interesting to see where the author takes this series.

Domovitch likes to mix up her thrillers with a wee bit of family drama and the occasional psycho.

Buy Scar Tissue (The Mindsight series #1) at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Baby Doll by Hollie Overton

baby dollIt doesn’t happen often, but now and again I will read a book that annoys me. Part of it was because it was a good premise, however it wasn’t very well executed. Far too much gratuitous drama and attention on minor characters.

The other part was just overall annoyance at the plot and characters in general.

That in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You know what they say, if you’re talking about a book it must have had something in it that moved you, made you angry or just plain annoyed you.

The way Lily was allowed to make decisions above police procedures, just for an extra dramatic scene, was unrealistic. That her first instinct wasn’t to call the authorities at all, and yes I do understand her paranoia, was a little hard to swallow.

I also understand the author wanting to emphasis how families are completely torn apart by crimes such as this one. Saying that, there was way too much focus on Lily’s mother and her choice of boyfriend. It gave nothing to the story.

The story would have been tighter and more enjoyable if the focus had remained on Lily and her abductor. Focusing on the victim-blaming and victim-shaming mentality of the media and society. The way people would rather believe the word of a proven rapist and abuser, because he is an upstanding member of society, rather than believing the word of a young damaged woman.

This is exactly what Overton tries to do, but those elements are drowned out by the mother and the Abby’s personal drama.

The end was slightly muddled in a sense that Overton could have taken it in a variety of interesting directions. Abby implying Lily may feel something other than hate for her abductor for instance. It opened so many doors on a moral and psychological level.

The author has great ideas they just need to be reined in and given more structure and direction.

Buy Baby Doll at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

dear amy.pngThere is nothing remarkable about Margot. She is in the middle of a divorce, has a decent education, works as a teacher and she is the agony aunt for a smallish newspaper.

When she starts receiving letters from a young girl who disappeared over two decades ago her life, as she knows it, changes forever.

The arrival of the letters coincides with the disappearance of one of her ex-pupils, which seems to suggest some sort of connection.

The solution or the truth wasn’t hard to figure out, however I wouldn’t let that detract from the interesting premise and psychology involved in the process.

Is it feasible? Absolutely.Trauma, fear and anxiety can cause plenty of inexplicable physical and psychological reactions and many explicable ones.

The way Callaghan drew parallels in Margot’s relationships and her mental state of health was interesting.

The thing about this book is that you can’t really discuss it in depth without revealing the whole story, so I will leave it as it is and let readers find out for themselves.

Buy Dear Amy at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.