Just What Kind of Mother Are You?

September 2, 2013 Review 12 ★★★★

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You?Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly
Published by Doubleday Canada on April 30, 2013
Genres: Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: NetGalley
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What if your best friend's child disappears? And it was all your fault.

A searing and sinister thriller for readers who liked Gone Girl.What if your best friend's child disappears? And it was all your fault. This is exactly what happens to Lisa Kallisto, overwhelmed working mother of three, one freezing December in the English Lake District. She takes her eye off the ball for just a moment and her whole world descends into the stuff of nightmares. Because, not only is thirteen-year-old Lucinda missing, and not only is it all Lisa's fault, but she's the second teenage girl to disappear within this small tightknit community over two weeks. The first girl turned up stripped bare, dumped on a busy high street, after suffering from a terrifying ordeal.

Wracked with guilt over her mistake and after being publicly blamed by Lucinda's family, Lisa sets out to right the wrong. But as she begins peeling away the layers surrounding Lucinda's disappearance, Lisa learns that the small, posh, quiet town she lives in isn't what she thought it was, and her friends may not be who they appear, either.

This was a nerve-wracking, tense, and terrifying novel. Like Lisa, the main character, I tend to be absent-minded. Thankfully, my absentminded-ness has never resulted in a situation like this one!

Lisa forgets that her daughter’s friend was supposed to sleep-over–or rather, her daughter stayed home sick from school and Lisa didn’t make sure her friend knew that there would be no sleepover. So when Lucinda didn’t show up for a sleepover, Lisa things nothing of it. Why should she, right? It isn’t until the next day that she finds out just how wrong she is because Lucinda went missing after school and she’s not the first girl to do so. Now, Lisa blames herself… and she’s not the only one. When she tries to offer comfort to her friend she’s shot down and blamed for this whole mess.

The book was incredibly fast-paced and had me sitting up well into the night to read it. I had to know what was going on! It doesn’t help that we get to see things from Lisa’s point of view, but also from the man who has kidnapped girls in this small town! There’s something terrifying about listening in on his thought process and how he picks out his victims, and it had my stomach churning with fear not just for the missing girl but for my daughter. There were some scenes that I didn’t think we needed (like the DI and her breast reduction talk, for example) but for the most part this was tightly woven. I’m hoping that this turns out to be only the first in a series and that the DI will return in another book to solve more crimes.

The characters were realistic, especially Lisa. To me it was easy to see how overwhelmed she was feeling, how it would be so easy to just miss one little detail that could have your entire life spinning out of control. And that’s just the start of it, because things keep piling up on Lisa and the rest of the characters. There is an affair that gets brought to light, suicide attempts, stolen animals, and missing girls. So we never get a break from the building tension until the end when the truth comes out, and Lisa learns what happened on the day that Lucinda went missing.

This was a great début novel, and one that was so well-written that it’s hard to believe it’s her first one! I couldn’t read this again, but that’s because it plays on my own fears as a parent because this would definitely be my worst nightmare! This book as been compared to Gone Girl, but as I haven’t read it I can’t say for sure. I would recommend this to anyone who loves a good, twisty thriller that builds you up and doesn’t leave you hanging.

12 Responses to “Just What Kind of Mother Are You?”

  1. Megan

    This one sounds creepy, especially the part about getting into the killer’s head. Yikes! Glad you thought it was good, but I don’t blame you for not waning a reread.

  2. Megan

    This one sounds creepy, especially the part about getting into the killer’s head. Yikes! Glad you thought it was good, but I don’t blame you for not wanting a reread.

  3. Charlotte

    Laureen, I don’t think I’m gonna read this no matter how good the story is. Sounds very scary. I don’t think I could stand being on Lisa’s shoes. It really breaks my heart to see Mothers suffering so much. How much more this? 😐

    • Laureen

      It was definitely scary. I wound up feeling sick to my stomach with Lisa’s suffering, but it all turns out for the best in the end, and was a fantastic book.

    • Laureen

      That was me, too. I’m very absentminded, so I could see myself forgetting that my kid’s friend was supposed to sleep-over. That would be terrifying!

  4. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    The more I see copycat books following on the footsteps of Gone Girl, the more I need to read it. I’ve never heard about this book story though, but it does sound pretty scary and dark. Lisa sounds like she gets the raw end of the stick here, not sure I’ll be able to handle that. Great review!

    • Laureen

      I still need to read Gone Girl, as well. It’s been on my list for a while, so hopefully soon! Lisa does get the raw end of the stick, and she’s put under a lot of pressure because of it, but she’s strong enough to handle it and still try to be a good friend. Thanks for commenting!

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