SLEEP, BABY, SLEEP by Jessica Auerbach


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 In a sentimental potboiler, Auerbach (Painting on Glass, 1988) follows a young mother whose life becomes a waking nightmare when her infant daughter is kidnapped. Sylvie Pierson's days are occupied by a string of nondescript jobs and efforts to cope with her attention deficit disorder until she meets Peter Weston in a New Haven shopping mall. Impetuous and charming, Peter sweeps Sylvie off her feet; when she becomes pregnant, they both want the baby. Only Sylvie's skeptical mother, Hannah, counsels abortion, arguing that Sylvie's history of quickly discarding new interests will make her a poor mother. Despite Hannah's objection, Sylvie moves in with Peter and, in due course, delivers Callie at home. All seems well until Sylvie, making ``just a quick run to the market,'' leaves six-week-old Callie in her crib and returns home to find the infant missing. Despite the best efforts of police detective Chad Martinson, no progress is made, and the FBI agent called in suspects the culprit is the distraught mother herself. Adding to the strain on Sylvie is Peter's reaction. Working out of town, he hears of Callie's disappearance only belatedly and soon distances himself from Sylvie, moving out of their apartment. As the FBI and the police, increasingly skeptical that there has been a crime at all, begin to withdraw from the case, Sylvie, with some unofficial help from the ever-sympathetic Martinson, sets out to find the kidnapper. Although her quest takes up most of the book, the reader is likely to finger the villain early in the investigation. Auerbach goes right for the heartstrings, but the drawn-out details of Sylvie's tearful plight are as likely to provoke irritation as sympathy. (Literary Guild featured alternate)

Pub Date: June 29th, 1994
ISBN: 0-399-13941-9
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1994