Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott
I love a good psychological thriller and this one definitely has the thrill aspect at its heart assisted by the fast pace full of tension from the opening sentence.
One Dark Secret. One act of revenge.
When Emma Joseph met her husband David, he was a man shattered by grief. His first wife had been killed outright when her car veered off the road. Just as tragically, their six-year-old daughter mysteriously vanished from the scene of the accident.
Now, six years later, Emma believes the painful years are behind them. She and David have built a new life together and have a beautiful baby son, Ollie.
Then a stranger walks into their lives, and their world tilts on its axis.
Emma’s life no longer feels secure. Does she know what really happened all those years ago? And why does she feel so frightened for herself and for her baby?
When a desperate Emma reaches out to her old friend DCI Tom Douglas for help, she puts all their lives in jeopardy. Before long, a web of deceit is revealed that shocks both Emma and Tom to the core.
They say you should never trust a stranger. Maybe they’re right.
Review by Ignite:
Abduction must be a parent’s worst nightmare. David doesn’t only lose his wife in an accident but his six year-old daughter disappears. He remarries and has a son with his second wife. Then, unbelievably, his daughter reappears, now aged thirteen.
In this gripping and disturbing thriller we find out gradually what has happened to young Natasha over the intervening years. DCI Tom Douglas becomes involved when David’s second child is kidnapped and we watch as his mother, Emma, struggles with the decision to involve the police. We find out more about Tom’s late brother Jack and his relationships in this story, too.
Rachel Abbott’s plots are always complex but believable psychological thrillers and this is no exception. I found myself asking what I would do in this case and I honestly don’t know. A very gripping thriller indeed. I received an advance copy of this book from the author, in exchange for a review.
Review by C Bannister:
Stranger Child is Rachel Abbott’s fourth book but rest assured, she hasn’t run out of good ideas yet.
Emma Joseph is married to David a successful man whose first wife, Caroline, died in a car accident six years before. Emma lives with the reminder of her beauty in a painting and the memories of the long years where she supported him with his grief because David didn’t just lose his wife in the accident before the emergency services arrived his six-year-old daughter, Natasha, disappeared, seemingly into thin air. Finally life is looking up and Emma and David have had baby Ollie and Emma is enjoying motherhood and then one day everything changes,
What would you do if you were at home gazing out of the kitchen window and suddenly you saw a pair of eyes behind you, watching you, in your own kitchen. At that moment everything changes for the Joseph family.
It doesn’t take long before Emma calls on her friend DCI Tom Douglas, who readers of Rachel Abbott’s previous books will remember. In my mind’s eye he is dashingly gorgeous and a thoroughly upright Police Officer who really cares about the victims in the cases he investigates. Anyway I digress, Emma soon realises that perhaps in this situation she shouldn’t have involved the Police as things get much, much worse.
I love a good psychological thriller and this one definitely has the thrill aspect at its heart assisted by the fast pace full of tension from the opening sentence. This is one of those books that I shelve under compulsive reading, I know from the start that I’m in for a treat and I just have to keep flicking the pages to see what delightful twist will present itself on the next page, to observe each character adapt as they accustom themselves to new pieces of information the events unfold.
One of the things I love about Rebecca Abbott’s writing is that her characters feel realistic because they react like real people even in extraordinary situations, although there are several people in this book that I wouldn’t fancy meeting on a dark night, or even in broad daylight! As in the previous books Tom Douglas is working with Becky Robinson and it is lovely to have such a supportive working relationship within crime fiction and although we only ever get snippets of their personal lives it is clear that Tom is still struggling to come to terms with his elder brother’s death some years before.
The only complaint I have is that the short chapters that break up the 350+ pages meant that I felt like a child again as I murmured to myself, just one more chapter, at least a dozen times after I should have been fast asleep and saying to your colleagues that you’re tired because you read too much the night before didn’t really garner me much sympathy.