Just What Kind of Mother Are You by Paula Daly

Release Date - September 2013

Paula Daly
Grove Press

Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth

I actually received this book to review through Amazon. However, the site felt my first review contained an offensive word. Had they really read the context, they'd understand there was no offense intended, but since they wouldn't post it, I am putting it here instead.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? threw me at first. Somehow, I missed the author was British. This isn't a bad thing. I find that British mysteries tend to capture the emotional side better, without glossing things over. There are great American mystery writers, but a lot of the books I have try so hard to bring everything to a happily ever after, that they lose the authenticity of the story. Paula Daly's debut novel blew me away.

Lisa Kallisto's world is shattered when her friend's daughter (Lucinda) disappears. Lisa blames herself because Lucinda was supposed to be with them for an overnight, but Lisa's daughter woke up and was sick, so they cancelled plans prior to the start of the school day. While Lucinda said she would inform her mother before going to school, it turns out, she never did. Now Lucinda is missing, and Lisa's kicking herself for not having contacted Lucinda's mother personally.

When Lisa learns Lucinda is missing, she heads to her friend Kate's house to talk to both Kate and the police. Kate is understandably shattered by Lucinda's disappearance and asks Lisa to find her daughter. Detective Constable Joanne Aspinall has her hands full investigating both Lucinda's disappearance and that involving a second local girl who vanished and was later found dumped after being raped. Lisa doesn't want to impede in the investigation, but as more is revealed, Lisa finds herself unprepared for some of the skeletons that have been hiding in closets in her small town.

I loved  all of the "days" (aka chapters) in Just What Kind of Mother Are You. The terminology and spellings are British, so readers will have to understand that one word that some find offensive, starts with an "F", simply means cigarette. I heard one person at a local library mention how offensive it was, but that's definitely not the case. It's simply a case of that person being ignorant to the differences between English and American terminology.

There are points in the story where the reader is taken into the abductor's mind. Those parts did creep me out. I didn't want to be told anything by that child-loving sicko, but it also added a new layer to the story that kept me on the edge of my seat.

Bottom line is that there are plenty of twists. As each secret is revealed, it becomes harder and harder to put the book down. I was riveted to every word and can't wait to see what Ms. Daly crafts in the future!


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