As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Zaffre, 14 December 2017. ISBN: 978-1-78576-275-8 (PB)
It must be every parent's nightmare to go and check on a child and find
she simply isn't there. Remember the haunted faces of Kate and Gerry McCann,
when their daughter Madeleine went missing back in 2007? This taut, sometimes
harrowing family drama carries strong echoes of that news story, and I can't
begin to imagine the kind of hell any mother in a similar position must go through.
And when bereft mother Caroline Shipley gets a phone call, fifteen years after
toddler Samantha was snatched from her bed on a family holiday, from a girl
claiming to be Samantha, the hell seems set to start all over again.
The novel switches between
time frames to show how Caroline has been vilified in the press, conned by
journalists, rejected by her family and shunned by potential employers – but
she has never given up on Samantha. She is fragile and vulnerable, and all too
aware that her state of mind lays her open to abuse, but still she hopes for
the best possible outcome.
It takes an experienced
novelist to bring such a painful scenario to life without descending into
mawkish sentimentality; fortunately Joy Fielding is that novelist. She creates
locations with a sure hand: the pleasant suburb where Caroline lives is as real
as the plush Mexican resort hotel where the nightmare begins, and icy Calgary
as vivid as temperate San Diego.
But mainly this is a novel
about people, and the effect such a traumatic event has on both individuals and
relationships. Fielding has produced a cast of characters of such variety and
humanity that it's easy to be drawn into the unfolding of both past and
present. Caroline herself sits at the centre of it all, surrounded by people
ready to knock her down over and over. Yet over and over she gets up again,
bruised and battered but shored up by that steel core of hope.
No one is one-dimensional;
everyone has layers. Her exasperated ex-husband Hunter, rebellious daughter
Michelle and acid-tongued mother Mary each reveal vulnerabilities of their own;
her sympathetic friend Peggy occasionally loses patience with her; even the
youngsters in her maths class sometimes show unexpected perception.
And then there's Lili, the seventeen-year-old
who may or may not be Samantha. Her role in the story is perfectly balanced: is
she, or isn't she? Like Caroline, I hoped, but didn't dare expect; that's a
sure sign of skilful storytelling.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Joy Fieldingis the New York Times bestsellingauthor
of Someone Is Watching, Now You See Her, Still Life, Mad River
Road, See Jane Run, and other acclaimed novels. She divides her time
between Toronto and Palm Beach, Florida.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.