A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, January 12, 2017

She's Not There by Joy Fielding- Feature and Review


A vanished child, a family in turmoil, and a fateful phone call that brings the torments of the past into the harrowing present . . . the New York Times bestselling author of Someone Is Watching weaves these spellbinding elements into a gripping novel of psychological suspense—a must-read for fans of Laura Lippman and Mary Higgins Clark.

“I think my real name is Samantha. I think I’m your daughter.”

Carole Shipley’s heart nearly stops when she hears those words from the voice on the other end of the phone. Instantly, she’s thrust fifteen years into the past, to a posh resort in Baja, Mexico—and the fateful night her world collapsed.

The trip was supposed to be a celebration. Carole’s husband, Hunter, convinced her to leave their two young daughters alone in their hotel suite while the couple enjoyed an anniversary dinner in the restaurant downstairs. But returning afterward, Carole and Hunter made a horrifying discovery: their two-year-old girl had vanished without a trace.

What followed were days, weeks, and years of anguish for Carole. She was tormented by media attention that branded her a cold, incompetent mother, while she struggled to save her marriage. Carole also had to deal with the demands of her needy elder daughter, Michelle, who was driven to cope in dangerous ways. Through it all, Carole desperately clung to the hope that Samantha would someday be found—only to be stung again and again by cruel reality.

Plunged back into the still-raw heartbreak of her daughter’s disappearance, and the suspicions and inconsistencies surrounding a case long gone cold, Carole doesn’t know whom or what to believe. The only thing she can be sure of is that someone is fiercely determined to hide the truth of what happened to Samantha.



She's Not ThereShe's Not There by Joy Fielding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

She’s Not There by Joy Fielding is a 2016 Ballantine publication.

Emotionally intense psychological thriller!

Fifteen years ago, Caroline and her husband, Hunter and their two children, join friends and family in Mexico to celebrate their anniversary.

When special plans are in jeopardy due to a babysitting problem, Hunter convinces Caroline to leave the children unattended so they can enjoy dinner together, she reluctantly agrees on the condition that they check on them often.

However, Caroline’s worst nightmare is realized with her two year old daughter, Samantha, is stolen away in the night.

Now, fifteen years later, Caroline and Hunter are divorced and their teenage daughter, Michelle, is troubled. Then out of the blue, Caroline receives a phone call from a girl who believes she may be Samantha. Is this a sick joke? A ploy for money? Or could this young girl really be Samantha?

The premise of this book mirrors the real life abduction of Madeline McCann, whose parents did exactly what Hunter and Caroline did while on vacation, by leaving their child unattended while they went out for dinner. So, you could say this was a ‘ripped from the headlines’ kind of story.

I thought the author did a great job of building suspense, while highlighting the emotional trauma the family dealt with after losing their daughter and the determination of a mother to never stop searching or believing her child could still be out there somewhere, even if everyone else has tried to move forward with their lives.

Any parent can empathize with Caroline and although Michelle is a real pain, and was very difficult to like, I often felt sorry for her, sensing she was in deep emotional pain.

There are plenty of suspects and plenty of possible motives, although some parts of the plot are implausible, the story was still riveting and I found myself wrapped up in it despite its flaws.

So, in the end, I had to admit I liked the story, and was pleased with the outcome.

Overall, this is an enjoyable read and will appeal to those enjoy light psychological thrillers.





Joy Fielding is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Still Life, Charley's Web, Heartstopper, See Jane Run, and other acclaimed novels. She divides her time between Toronto and Palm Beach, Florida.

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