Friday, 18 November 2016

My Husband's son - Deborah O'Connor - tantalising and twisty

My thoughts

My husbands son is one of those books where all the way through I was willing the character (Heidi in this case) not to make that decision and pleeease don’t take that action, to no avail.

Heidi and husband Jason aren’t your average couple, but they have more in common than many. They are united by loss, they met through the shared grief of losing a child. Heidi’s daughter was abducted and murdered, even after 6 years this is THE defining event which shapes her life even though she is holding down a demanding job and expending a lot of her energy in supporting Jason through his on-going ordeal, for his son barney was also abducted but he remains missing and Heidi clings to that hope of a better outcome for the man she loves.

The story begins rather enigmatically with a pastiche of someone grabbing a young boy and taking him away against his will. This sets the tone for the book, it’s a horrible subject and if it makes you uncomfortable thinking about what it would be like to lose a child and know that horrible things have or may have been done to them, this may upset you.

But it’s extremely compelling reading, even more so when I realised it’s set in the North East, my own stomping ground, albeit a North East with a tiny bit of artistic license applied. Some places differing slightly from my detailed knowledge, didn’t spoil it and make it all the more easy to relate to the characters.

Heidi has spent years staring at photos of her husband’s son Barney, and when she spots a young lad exactly the age Barney would now be, then sees Jason’s eyes and expression she knows she’s found his missing son. She’s determined to re-unite them but when she shows the boy to Jason he is equally as certain that this isn’t his son. You’d recognise your own flesh and blood wouldn’t you?

But Heidi’s conviction isn’t quashed by his denial in fact she becomes even more determined to find out if this is in fact Barney grown a little older. But as she begins to carry out her own investigations she makes matters go from bad to worse, she gets herself in some terrible pickles, jeopardises her job, her own safety, her very sanity ... or is that where the problem has lain all along? Is she crazy, has grief unhinged her?

She gets herself into some such terrible scrapes, at one point when she was around the back of a building in a grubby back alley trying to gain access and see inside a property and falls off a bin I rolled around with gleeful horror.

Heidi is a wonderful, slightly unhinged, flaky yet resolute character, I loved her. She wears spindly spiky designer high heels all the time to give herself height and presence, yet they are so impractical and often cost her dearly.

She is like a terrier with a rat in its teeth and just won’t let go of what she thinks is right. Just when you think she's beginning to see sense, she spins off again on a self destruct mission, leaving me gasping and shouting Nooooo, DON'T (but did she listen? Nope, off she goes)

Whether she is right or wrong becomes almost of secondary importance compared with just how far she will actually go to follow her self imposed mission.

And the ending  ..... it’s suitably tantalising, twisty and ambiguous enough to make a shudder run down my spine!

An extremely competent and convoluted psychological chiller to satisfy even the most warped mind.

I apologise to the kind folks at Netgalley and the publisher Bonnier publishing who provided this book which I didn't read in time for the launch.

The Blurb

You'd always recognise your own son. Wouldn't you?

A captivating psychological thriller with a devastating twist, perfect for fans of Apple Tree Yard and Gone Girl 

Heidi and Jason aren't like other couples. Six years ago, Heidi's daughter was murdered. A year later, Jason's son Barney disappeared. Their shared loss brought them together. By chance, Heidi meets a boy she's certain is Barney. But Jason is equally convinced it's not him. Is Heidi mad? Or is Jason hiding something? And can their fragile marriage survive Heidi's newfound quest for the truth . . .

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