British children’s author McKenzie’s first adult novel is a psychological thriller centered around a woman whose life has been on hold ever since her baby died eight year earlier.
Gen and her husband, Art, are still deeply in love, but they are struggling after years of trying to deal with the stillbirth of their only child, Beth. The baby was delivered early after an obstetrician detected that there was no heartbeat. After the child’s stillbirth, it was determined she was deformed and would not have survived anyway, a revelation that threw Gen into emotional turmoil. Although she and Art have been trying to conceive again, they’ve been unsuccessful and have resorted to fertility treatments. None have taken. Gen is almost ready to give up on having a child when a woman comes to her door and tells her some unsettling news: Not only was Gen’s baby born alive, but others knew about it, including someone close to Gen. Although Gen doesn’t believe the woman, she starts to investigate on her own, setting off a chain of events that lead her deeper and deeper into a dark place. Along the way, she acquires an unlikely ally, a man who once worked with her husband but who is now one of his deadliest foes. She is left to wonder who is playing her for a fool—one of the people she loves or her new friend. McKenzie is a skillful writer and understands how to build interest and tension with well-drawn characters and fascinating back story. But readers might want to keep a notepad handy to keep track of the people she introduces—some necessary, others simply there to fill out the plot. After a while, readers may have trouble keeping track of who’s who.
McKenzie’s maiden thriller is a hit, even if it becomes a bit crowded in the process.