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Lisa Kallisto is doing her best to juggle the demands of an overburdened life: she holds down a busy job running an animal shelter, cares for three demanding children, and worries that her husband isn't getting enough TLC. During an incredibly hectic week, Lisa takes her eye off the ball for just a...
Lisa Kallisto is doing her best to juggle the demands of an overburdened life: she holds down a busy job running an animal shelter, cares for three demanding children, and worries that her husband isn't getting enough TLC. During an incredibly hectic week, Lisa 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 goes missing, and it's all Lisa's fault. Wracked with guilt over her mistake, and having been publicly blamed, Lisa sets out to right her wrong. But as she begins digging beneath the surface, Lisa learns that everything is not quite what it first appears to be.
Gripping and fast-paced, Just What Kind of Mother Are You? introduces an outstanding new thriller writer with a sharp eye and terrifying imagination for the horrors that lurk in our everyday lives.
Verdict Thriller and mystery lovers alike will devour this book. Daly has perfected the essence of British suburban life and how easily it can fall apart. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/13; library marketing.]—Cynthia Price, Francis Marion Univ. Lib., Florence, SC
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
* Named one of Publishers Weekly’s Top Ten Thrillers of Fall ’13
* Chosen as one of O: The Oprah Magazine’s “Five Page Turners That Will Surprise You More Than Once”
“[A] taut novel. . . . We all need a reminder that no woman has it all under control, not even in fiction.” —Andrea Walker, O: The Oprah Magazine (“Five Page Turners That Will Surprise You More Than Once”)
“What elevates this ordinary story is the extraordinary realism of the characters. As we’re pulled into her class-conscious community, we root for [protagonists] Lisa, Joe and justice.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer (Grade: A)
“Just What Kind of Mother Are You? has all the right ingredients: cheating spouses, plotting frenemies, sinister fathers, secrets roiling just beneath the surface of everyday domestic life. . . . Her language and insights are both shrewd.” —BookRiot.com
“Daly’s first effort establishes her as a significant player, with gripping prose and a plot moving forward from the first chapter. . . . Deeply unsettling, [with] an ending to leave you reeling. Daly definitely makes her bones in this first effort. I can’t wait to read her second!” —Curled Up With A Good Book
“[Just What Kind of Mother Are You?] is anything but predictable . . . a true mystery thriller that takes readers down a circuitous, agonizing path.” —Florida Times-Union
“One of the most hypnotically gripping books I've read in a long, long time. Masterfully written and utterly unputdownable, this thriller will surprise and astound you with every ingenious twist and turn.” —Tess Gerritsen, NYT-bestselling author of Last to Die
“Riveting! Daly plunges straight into the heart of every parent's worst nightmare with page-turning results. You know this family. You may even be one of these moms. And you will fly through this novel, as their pain, bewilderment, and ultimately determination become your own.” —Lisa Gardner, #1 NYT-bestselling author of Touch & Go and Catch Me
“[A] strong debut . . . fiendishly addictive as well as perceptive about guilt and social class.” —The Guardian
“It’s almost impossible, if you have a heart of any size, to not get wrapped up right away in Lisa Kallisto’s plight. . . . It is a page-turner.” —Three Guys One Book
"Cracking page turner . . . a highly enjoyable read that straddles crime and commercial women's fiction." —The Bookseller
“[An] emotionally complex tale of teenage abduction . . . in Daly's distinctive first novel.” —Publishers Weekly (“Big Books of the Fall”)
“Skillfully working both sides of the street—crime fiction and women’s fiction—debut novelist Daly delivers a highly suspenseful tale. . . . This intriguing blend of suspense tale and domestic drama, which has a number of delicious plot twists, will keep readers riveted. . . . There is also much insight here into the power games that rule both female friendships and the relationships between husbands and wives. First-rate fiction from an outstanding new thriller writer.”—Booklist (starred review)
“A distinctive voice, masterful plotting, and pitch-perfect characterizations mark British author Daly’s superb debut. . . . Daly’s detailed, richly imagined world and surprising plot twists bring fresh life to the familiar theme of child abduction. In the end, the novel is not just an intriguing puzzle but also a nuanced exploration of friendship, motherhood, fallibility, and the mystery of human relationships.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Daly’s debut novel explores how interpersonal relationships wax and wane following the disappearance of a local child . . . The storytelling and Daly’s voice are top-drawer.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Just What Kind of Mother Are You? is an intricate, absolutely absorbing account of a series of chilling events that once unleashed will keep the reader riveted to the pages. A grave reminder of the heavy responsibility of being a mother, a wife, a friend. Hypnotic and harrowing right up to the pulse-pounding end. Unforgettable.” —Heather Gudenkauf, NYT and USA TODAY bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden
“A crackling good read, Just What Kind of Mother Are You? is a remarkable domestic thriller debut. Fueled by every parent's worst nightmare, Paula Daly takes you for an intense, gritty and heartbreaking roller-coaster ride. A writer to watch.” —Julia Spencer-Fleming, NYT bestselling author of One Was A Soldier
“With crackling dialogue, compelling characters and a page-turning plot . . . this is a truly promising debut by Daly. She writes with a singular voice and a fierce passion that roars off the page, while also displaying a visceral understanding of the betrayals and humiliations of domestic life . . . With a sharp, double-twist ending, it announces Daly as a potential star, and one with the courage to take risks.” —Daily Mail (UK)
“This taut page-turner of a novel, set in England’s fabled Lake District, home to twee villages, Beatrix Potter bunnies, and dreamy Wordsworth poetry, torques every parent’s nightmare . . . Daly has a gift for realistic, snappy dialogue . . . This story is as much about cornering a criminal as it is about aiming a light on the human knack for acquiring martyr complexes, an affliction that sticks to all the characters in varying degrees.” —Maclean’s
“A pacy psychologival thriller that perfectly captures the voice of a stressed-out working mum.” —The Sunday Mirror
“Here’s reason for celebration: a first novel that lives up to the billing, with italics and asterisk, page-turner! . . . Daly describes the crimes and the characters with prose that never pauses for breath and leads us through stunning mini-climaxes until we reach the big whammo.” —Toronto Star
“Just What Kind of Mother Are You? is the very definition of a page-turner the sort of book that causes you to lose half a day without even noticing. Savour every page, because this will probably be your book of the year. With characters so real they can’t possibly be made up, it’s a brilliant, thrilling story of friendship, families and the sort of terrifying betrayal that can only happen to those closest to us.” —Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner
“A terrifying story that strips away all our preconceptions about love, loyalty, and friendship. Paula Daly writes so compellingly and convincingly about one mother’s descent into the darkest of places, that we can’t help but be dragged along with her. A fantastic debut.” —Carla Buckley, author of Invisible
“I read the book in just a few hours, gripped by the believable characters and switchbacks of the plot. Everyone will recognize the dilemmas in this book and hold their breath for the finale.” —Claire McGowan, author of The Fall and Director of the CWA
"A unique and utterly gripping thriller. Lisa Kallisto is a very real character, thrown into a situation we've all had nightmares about. A compelling read." —Alison Gaylin, bestselling author of Into the Dark
“Paula Daly's finely-wrought debut thriller deals with overburdened working women who are doing their best but are in danger of being swamped by the conflicting demands being placed upon them. Daly's characters are well-drawn, complex individuals who oftentimes are not what they seem to be, and her small-town settings seethe with twisted dynamics lurking just below the bucolic surfaces.” —Lisa Brackmann, author of Hour of the Rat and Rock Paper Tiger
“An assured and nail-biting debut which gives an authentic portrayal of modern family life and the pressures of being a working mother. Daly writes eloquently about an ordinary family plunged into a nightmare and sets her story in the wintry landscape of the English Lakes. A tense and satisfying read.” —Cath Staincliffe, author of Split Second and Dead to Me
“A terrifically assured debut—a compelling read with a wholly appealing protagonist and great doses of humor along with the suspense.” —Kathleen George, author of Simple and The Odds
“This is a superb debut novel, which engages the reader from the first page and doesn't let up until the final twist at the very end. An unsettling portrayal of just how easily lives can unravel amid the pressures of modern life. Close the curtains, stoke up the fire and prepare for an excellent read.” —Diane Janes, author of Why Didn’t You Come for Me?
“I read it all in one sitting. It's unputdownable: exactly the kind of book I love—a slow burning psychological suspense with lots of twists. As well as being full of suspense, it is rich in domestic detail and brilliantly examines the pressures that working parents—specifically working mothers—are under to be perfect in every way. Particularly satisfyingly I didn't see the end coming until the moment it appeared.” —Julia Crouch, author of Cuckoo
Posted November 1, 2013
I've been Lisa Kallisto. The mom who has said yes to too many things. Only after agreeing to just about everything, I soon find I can't handle hardly anything. This is Lisa. She wants to be a good mother, she wants to be a great mother and I believe is trying to compete without realizing it (don't we all on some level). She simply has to many balls in the air, I've been there. She needed to make a phone call--one simple phone call, but she simply got busy with life and didn't. The phone call she didn't make leads to the abduction of her daughter's best friend, Lucinda, a young thirteen year old girl. Lucinda's mother is a good friend of Lisa's. How do you apologize--how do you live with that? You are responsible for a young girl gone missing.
Reading this almost seemed like a mission. I wanted to get it read and by reading it maybe Lucinda would make her way home. I know this sounds silly, but I couldn't put this book down. I wanted her home. I wanted everything to be ok, I wanted that sense of, "oh my goodness I can relate to Lisa--but I don't want to think about that" to end.
The novel is told with alternating perspectives of Lisa, Detective Joanne Aspinall, and a few small chapters of a dark voice that made my skin crawl. Detective Joanne is very different than Lisa. She is very cautious and meticulous. The two different perspectives really worked well with moving the novel forward as these two women try to put the pieces of what happened to Lucinda together.
I felt this was a can't put down thriller. With each passing chapter I felt like I knew even less that I did before-and I loved that I had no idea how this would end. And let me tell you I was not prepared for the ending! Be ready for staying up late to read this one! I am highly recommending.
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Posted September 27, 2013
Can't say enough good things about this book. Daly nails the voices of people living in a small rural community and dealing with a child predator. The twists were novel and fresh.
I can't wait to see what Daly puts out next. Highly recommended.
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Posted March 14, 2014
This stunning debut novel from Paula Daly is a breathtaking tale of ostensibly normal lives torn asunder. Lisa Kallisto, who runs an animal shelter, lives in a small village holding 260 houses in the English Lake district. Just a few days before Christmas, her best friend’s thirteen-year-old daughter disappears, and the only thing more horrifying to Lisa is the fact that it appears to have been her fault. The author makes palpable the guilt which wracks the overworked and overwhelmed mother of three. And apparently this is not the first adolescent girl in the area to have been kidnapped, nor is she the last. As Lisa says: “There is nothing as bad as a missing child. Nothing at all.”
The investigation is headed up by D.C. Joanne Aspinall of the CID. Both women are in their late thirties, and the author focuses much of the book on these two women, wonderfully well-drawn, as are the other characters. The book is not as dark as one might expect, dealing as it does with such perverted acts. It is certainly suspenseful. Not edge-of-your-seat suspenseful, perhaps, at least until Day 4.
As the tale comes to a close, what came to mind was my mother’s old adage: One never knows what goes on behind someone else’s closed doors. And everyone has a secret (or two). I read this book in a little more than 24 hours, and it is highly recommended.
Posted September 9, 2013
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Posted January 10, 2014
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Posted October 4, 2013
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Posted September 29, 2013
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