Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Just what kind of mother are you? - Paula Daly

I just love reading suspense novels - you know, the ones that put ordinary people in extraordinary situations and keep you madly turning pages.  Well, here's the first of this year's summer hammock reads - the done in a day, read in the sun ones.

Just what kind of mother are you? is Paula Daly's debut novel.

Lisa Kallisto is overwhelmed, overworked and overtired, but she tries really hard to do it all - work, wife and mother. But sometimes, things slip. Not enough time with her husband Joe, a forgotten item one of the kids had to have for school, picking up supper on the run, getting kids to where they're supposed to be and more. But this time, her distracted ways may have deadly results.....Her best friend Kate's daughter Lucinda was supposed to spend the night at Lisa's house with her daughter Sally. But Lisa forgot. And Kate thought she was safe with Lisa. And no one can find Lucinda.......

We know there is a creep out there - the opening prologue is a chiller. And one young girl has already been abducted in the area. Could Lucinda be another of his victims? Or has she just done a runner? Daly intersperses this person's thoughts throughout the book. We know more than the characters and this just heightens the tension.

Lisa is horrified at what's happened - she is determined to do anything she can to help. But with Lucinda's disappearance, resentments and secrets come bubbling to the surface. It seems that the quiet little Cumbrian village they all live in has many skeletons in the closets.

The Detective Constable charged with the investigation was an excellent supporting character. I really liked her and her personal storyline. I am wondering if Daly will return to this character in the second book she has in the works - The Day Before You Came.

I love British novels - the tone and the language of this one reminded me of Coronation Street - a British show we Canadians love.

Daly's portrayal of a frazzled Lisa was excellent - I think we've all been there at one time. The author's note at the end shed light on Daly's inspiration for the book - a horrible case of a forgotten infant left to die in a hot car. And an encounter with "one of those women who'll subtly put you down, put your children down, too, given half a chance. Suddenly it struck me: what if you were to lose her child? What if you were so overwhelmed with work and life that you took your eye off the ball, and it was her child who went missing?"

Daly's plotting was excellent - at one point I suspected each and every character, with no idea who was telling the truth. Daly keeps us wondering with each new twist she adds. Some discoveries and devices were a bit fortuitous, but didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book at all. And I really enjoyed it!

Looking for a page turning summer thriller? Pick up Just what kind of mother are you?  You can find Paula Daly on Twitter.

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