St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-1250033895
July 9, 2013, 400 pages
They had named her Beth.
Gen Loxley and her husband Art were so thrilled when she began pregnant...heartbroken when the baby died, stillborn.
It is now 8 years later and their lives have gone on. Well sort of. Art has become a very successful business man, appearing on a TV show, being asked to join a group of business people who consult with the prime minister. But for Gen, time has, in a way has stood still. Once a fairly successful fiction author, she finds she can no longer write. She fills her week with a few hours of teaching a writing class and not much more. Something in her died when she lost Beth, and has been unable to has another child. Not for lack of trying, every medical procedure out there has not been able to help them conceive again.
Then everything in her world explodes. A woman comes to her door with a story, supposedly told her by her sister, a nurse present at the delivery, on her deathbed. She felt it was a secret that she could not take to her grave. Gen's child did not die, but was born alive, perfect, and stolen away but no less than her husband Art.
Of course, no one believes Gen, not her friends, certainly not her husband. They tell her it is a con, an attempt to get money. She has been so depressed and this woman is taking advantage of her fragile state. And she almost believes them...until finally she gets off the couch and starts to look into things.
The doctor who performed the c-section has disappeared and does not want to be found. The records at the funeral home are oddly incomplete, no record of who took care of things. And then the woman who came to her door is killed in a suspicious hit and run. Things are getting more than a little weird.
Is she mad, as her friends, her husband seem to imply? Or is there some terrible secret being hidden, one that people are willing to kill to keep hidden? Is Gen willing to risk everything in her life, even her life, to try and find out the truth about her child?
I love a great psychological thriller and this is a pretty good one.
Good, with a few flaws.
Yes, the title is totally forgettable, too similar to too many other books.
Yes, it gets off to a rather slow start and, at least at first, Gen is just a bit too whiny and helpless to be totally likable. But once the facts start coming out, things pick up and it is a fun ride to an exciting ending. The tale is helped when she is joined in the investigation by an old friend of her husband's, the slightly rakish, bad boy Lorcan. He is handsome and fun and a great liar when they need a cover story. But can she trust him?
Can she really trust anyone?
And yes, the ending goes a bit too over the top to be believable once you stop to think about it. But while you are reading it, it is good fun. And that very last page...which I certainly can not share with you...is beyond creepy.
Overall, a quite nice thriller, with enough red herrings to make a big pot of fish stew, a dashing hero, a touch of forbidden romance, a few great villains revealing themselves at the end and an entertaining plot...not bad for a nice summer read.
My thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.