Monday, 27 January 2014

Just What Kind Of Mother Are You?

Just What Kind Of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly
Published by Bantam Press
25th April 2013
Hardback Edition


What if your best friend's child disappears?  And it's all your fault.

This is exactly what happens to Lisa Kallisto, overwhelmed working mother of three, one freezing December in the Lake District.  She takes her eye off the ball for just a moment and her whole world descends into a nightmare.  Her best friend's thirteen-year-old daughter Lucinda has gone missing and now, devastated by this and publicly blamed, Lisa sets out to right the wrong.

But as she begins peeling away the layers surrounding Lucinda's disappearance, Lisa learns that the quiet town she lives in isn't what she thought it was, and her friends may not be who they appear to be, either.

He arrives with time to spare.  Reverse-parking, he gets out and the cold hits him.  Slapping him hard in the face and stinging his skin.  He smells good.  Expensive.
     He's parked a few hundred yards from the school at the viewing point.  On a clear day there's an uninterrupted vista across the lake, over to the mountains beyond.  In better weather there'd be an ice-cream van, Japanese tourists taking photographs.  Not today, though.  Not with the clouds so low in the sky, and not with the autumn darkness fast approaching.
     The lake water reflects the trees.  It's a muddy, coffee-coloured brown - soon to be slate-grey - and the air is still.
     Maybe he should get a dog, he ponders briefly.  Something friendly - a spaniel perhaps, or one of those white, fluffy things.  Kids love dogs, don't they?  It might just be worth a go.


Paula Daly's first novel is something many women with children can relate to.  That crazy time when you are trying to juggle too many things at once, and then you forget to do something crucial.  Lisa Kallisto is that mum, too many things on her mind, agreeing to things without really listening to the information at hand, meaning she has forgotten that her daughter's best friend was meant to be staying over; and now she has gone missing.

We join the police investigation as they not only try to find Lucinda, but are also on the hunt for someone who has started taking young girls, drugging and raping them.  Lucinda is the second girl to disappear in as many weeks. 

Kate, Lucinda's apparently perfect mum, and her family, turn on Lisa and the guilt she experiences means she desperately feels the need to get involved in the investigation and find out what happened to Lucinda.  As she starts to follow Kate, and her husband Guy, their seemingly perfect life suddenly doesn't seem so great, and the secrets that both families have been trying greatly to keep hidden begin to become unravelled. Kate is one of those women you sometimes end up being friends with, and then at some point, begin to question just why you are friends with them, after they have put you down for the umpteenth time. 

This is a good read, one that keeps you turning the pages, not only to find out more about DC Joanne Aspinall who is in charge of solving the disappearance of Lucinda, but also about the secrets the characters are keeping from each other.  What does Lisa have to hide from her husband Adam, and where does Guy, Lucinda's father, keep driving off to?  Just What Kind Of Mother Are You hits you with a conclusion that you didn't expect.

Happy Reading

Miss Chapter x

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