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Wednesday, 2 March 2022

‘Five Days Missing’ by Caroline Corcoran

Published by Avon,
17 February 2022.
ISBN: 978-0-00-844178-4 (PB)

Why would a young mother leave her newborn baby behind in hospital soon after giving birth, and disappear without trace, switching her phone off and apparently taking no one into her confidence?

Romilly’s husband Marc is devastated, but he has an explanation: throughout her pregnancy she was being monitored for post-partum psychosis, a condition which her own mother suffered from; clearly their fears have been realized, and Romilly has taken off without being fully in command of her senses. 

Marc takes the baby home, and friends and family rally round to support him through the early days of fatherhood, which are challenging enough in normal circumstances, and now threaten to overwhelm him. He refuses to allow the baby out of his sight for a moment, not even when Romilly’s capable sister Loll encourages him to let her take some of the strain.

Then the missing mum’s best friend Steffie remembers a very odd text she received from Romilly while she was in labour: Everything is a lie. Something is going on, and someone clearly knows more than they are saying – but what? And who? And why is there a picture of a French lake in the back office of the cafe she and Romilly run?

This kind of novel is all about the characters, and Caroline Corcoran has got that aspect taped. Marc is the perfect father, gentle and calm with the baby, but every now and then lack of sleep threatens his control. Loll is sturdy, supportive, determined that everything will work out for the best. Steffie is on a knife-edge, desperate to do the best thing for everyone, but mainly for Romilly and the baby. Other players too are sharply drawn, even the customers in the cafe.

Locations too are meticulously portrayed: Marc and Romilly’s beautiful but slightly ramshackle cottage; the beach Romilly loves so much; other buildings and landscapes: all are so filmic you’ll feel you could step into the pages of the book and be there.  

If I revealed any more of this twisty domestic thriller I’d be giving everything away. Suffice to say that the tension level never drops, the curve-balls keep coming and there’s a surprise on the very last page. And once you pick the book up, you won’t want to put it down.

Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Caroline Corcoran is a freelance lifestyle and popular culture journalist who has written and edited for most of the top magazines, newspapers and websites in the UK. Her first novel, Through The Wall, came out in October 2019. It was a Sunday Times Bestseller and translated into numerous foreign languages.

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 in Oxfordshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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