Review: Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott

I received a complimentary copy of this one in exchange for an honest review – thank you very much!

Synopsis (mostly from Goodreads):

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, Tasha, 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. The stranger is nobody else but Tasha – older, more cunning, definitely with an agenda of her own but still just a teenage girl, vulnerable and insecure. Emma’s life no longer feels stable. 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.

My impressions:

It wasn’t a bad thriller, far from it. I was immediately drawn into this story as it pertained an interesting subject and it was narrated in a very skillful way. As the plot  started to unfold, I was made to follow both Emma and David’s POVs, but also that of other characters, including Tasha and her abductors. I observed with a kind of gruesome fascination how their lives became sucked into the dark, cruel underworld as they tried to discover what had happened to the damaged child who has so unexpectedly turned up in their home after six long years of virtually no sign of life or death. Such cases, as unbelievable as they sound, do happen in real life.

However somewhere in the middle the tension dropped a bit and then it went only from bad to worse. I have to admit I forced myself to finish this one. Why?

I suppose the plot is partially to blame. I think it had too many contrivances including the sudden involvement of people from the characters’ pasts and even worse, two adults allowing a long-missing child who suddenly reappeared to dictate to them what their actions should be. I have to say it bordered ‘too-stupid-to-live’ territory too often for my taste. Add to that shadowy, carton-thin characters floating in and out and then conveniently showing up to assist in trying to tie some of the many story lines together and my concentration and interest was vanishing quickly. The end didn’t improve the situation, with one big, ugly cliffhanger. I hate cliffies – my hands hurt every time I read them.

Final verdict:

A very good idea and a decent first half of the book couldn’t make up for the boring middle and rather unbelievable end. Pity.

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8 Responses to Review: Stranger Child by Rachel Abbott

  1. blodeuedd says:

    Forced yourself to finish, yeah no thanks

  2. Carole Rae says:

    Pity….and it sounded so good.

  3. heidenkind says:

    Always with the psycho Tashas.

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