There is a real freshness to Cassidy’s approach to storytelling
by Amanda Cassidy (Canelo £14.99, 304 pp)
This story draws you in immediately with a tense description of a fabulous beach scene. It takes place at Coral Beach hotel in the Florida Keys, where Dr Mirren Fitzpatrick is on holiday with her family from Ireland.
The tranquillity of the beach scene is suddenly destroyed by the piercing scream of a child. Mirren, who was seen drinking alone at a bar on the beach, is suspected by the police of being involved in her eight-year-old’s disappearance.
Much of what follows is a well-informed account of trial by media of a mother who, we learn, is a psychiatrist. But where this story scores is the way it investigates the far-from-perfect parenting style of Mirren, the complexities of sibling rivalry and whether mothers have favourite children.
There is a real freshness to Cassidy’s approach to storytelling. And the ending is as disturbing and moving as those opening beach-scene pages.
This story draws you in immediately with a tense description of a fabulous beach scene. It takes place at Coral Beach hotel in the Florida Keys, where Dr Mirren Fitzpatrick is on holiday with her family from Ireland
THE FAMILY GAME
by Catherine Steadman (S&S £8.99, 400 pp)
It’s almost impossible these days to read a thriller without wondering whether it will end up as a Netflix hit.
This one certainly has all the ingredients. It’s written by a successful actress and stars a beautiful British bestselling writer called Harry who moves to New York because she is engaged to Edward Holbeck, heir to the huge Holbeck fortune.
Steadman is particularly good on the detail of the super-rich lifestyle if you enjoy a bit of guilty wallowing in that sort of stuff.
When Harry finally gets to meet the mega-rich family, things turn sinister and her obsession with weird power games makes the plot explode. But will it be Harry’s own secrets that ruin her romance? Think Succession — on steroids.
Delaney’s tightly controlled prose style lends itself to expert tension-building
MY DARLING DAUGHTER
by J.P. Delaney (Quercus £14.99, 400 pp)
Grappling with multiple miscarriages and facing the pain of infertility, super-successful singer Susie Jukes is beyond delighted when the daughter she gave up for adoption 15 years ago suddenly contacts her on social media.
But her newly discovered daughter, Anna, turns out to be a deeply disturbed teenager whose presence prompts dangerous revelations about Susie’s past which, in turn, threaten her marriage.
The couple’s decision to intervene in Anna’s unhappy home life brings more complications.
Delaney’s tightly controlled prose style lends itself to expert tension-building. And his delicate touch with characters makes them very relatable if not entirely likable. The exotic music industry is an excellent environment to explore some stark contemporary issues. The plot meanders a bit at points, but Delaney brings the story to a satisfyingly surprising conclusion.
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