Book Review: Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly

Publication Date: 25th April 2013

Your best friend's daughter is missing. She was supposed to attend a sleepover at your house last night, a sleepover you forgot about. She is the second teenage girl to disappear in your town in two weeks, the first having turned up half-naked and traumatised while her rapist remains at large. What have you done? Such is the devastating dilemma of Lisa Kallisto, married mother of three and devoted animal rescue worker. Overcome with grief for her negligence, she sets out to find thirteen-year-old Lucinda and reunite her with her mother Kate.

During one of my sporadic loitering sessions at Waterstones, whereby I spend part of my lunch hour browsing the shelves for books to order on my Kindle without buying anything in store (deeply sorry, Waterstones!) I came across this psychological thriller and debut novel by Paula Daly. 

The image on the cover didn't exactly arrest me at first sight; I felt it perhaps hinted at a slow-moving, dark but dreary read. How wrong I was! From the first paragraph Just What Kind of Mother Are You? drew me in immediately and I was swept up in the characters' less-than-perfect lives. 

I love a well-written unhinged protagonist as much as the next person, and insights into their internal dialogue are always much appreciated, but having the kidnapper's short chapters interspersed between Lisa's and police detective, Joanne's, narrative made for a compelling story. The dialogue was well written and further aided the characterisation of individuals in this otherwise quiet, peaceful town in the Lake District.

I haven't read a thriller this good since Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and if you've read my book blog, you'll know how much I adored that book.

I'll be popping back into Waterstones soon to purchase a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird which I still have yet to read. Also, I feel slightly guilty that I've not bought any paperbacks from there this year, not to mention grateful that the staff haven't cottoned on to my loitering yet. But I'll also be on the lookout for another cracking thriller to rival Paula Daly's debut novel.

My rating: