Well, this was an experience. Disappointing, kind of bonkers, somehow still readable, lots of plot holes. It felt good to clean it off my TBR, and I’ll probably continue the series just because I’m curious about the bizarre relationship between the two detectives, but boy was it not what I was expecting.
The premise of this book is a good one, one that I don’t think it really delivers on: a woman leaves her house for the first time since her two week old baby was born, and when she comes back she insists the baby she came home to is not the one she left. Someone has swapped them. No one believes her, not her husband or the police. Two weeks later, both she and the baby have disappeared, and there is something not right about her family and her house.
The book is told in dual alternating perspectives: first person POV from the mother, Alice; and third person POV from the lead detective on the case, Simon, with occasional interludes from his superior officer, Charlie. Alice’s POV takes place two weeks before Simon’s, so we see a weird bouncing back and forth between cause and effect.
The mystery itself, which turns out to involve a previous murder as well, and Alice’s creepy family was pretty good in the sense that I couldn’t look away from it. I also hated it. SPOILERS What the fuck is up with her husband? I mean, what the fuck what the fuck? END SPOILERS The investigation of what happened was interesting, until it wasn’t because for some reason the author decided to have both of her detectives be so involved in their own emotions, it impairs their jobs, but in an annoying way, not a way that made me recognize our shared humanity or whatever. SPOILERS Charlie is in love with Simon but is butt hurt that he doesn’t reciprocate, and utterly loses her head when she realizes he’s fixated and in love with the idea of the victim, Alice, which is in itself also annoying END SPOILERS. It’s made clear that their relationship will continue to develop in future books, and things are held back from us about Simon’s past. It all just felt out of place and bizarre. It didn’t fit.
And then there was the “twist.” SPOILERS Alice turns out to have made up the baby swapping story, which takes all the fun out of it. Also, in order to pull that twist off, Alice’s inner monologue had to deceive the reader, and that’s a super suspect choice for the author to make. I don’t think Alice’s “but I also convinced myself” excuse worked, and it just seems like the author did this to shock. Third person POV would have preserved the twist much better END SPOILERS.
I don’t know if I would recommend this, but I’m curious to see what other utterly bizarre things Hannah can throw at me, so for now I’ll probably pick up the next book sometime in the future.