Review: Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly

Title: Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly
Publisher: Grove Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 256 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Lisa Kallisto—overwhelmed working mother—is the not-so-perfect model of the modern woman. She holds down a busy job running an animal shelter, she cares for three demanding children, and she worries that her marriage isn’t getting enough attention. During an impossibly hectic week, Lisa takes her eye off the ball for a moment and her world descends into a living nightmare. Not only is her best friend’s thirteen-year-old daughter missing, but it’s Lisa’s fault. To make matters worse, Lucinda is the second teenage girl to disappear within the past two weeks. The first one turned up stripped bare and abandoned on the main street after a horrible ordeal. Wracked with guilt over her mistake, and after having been publicly blamed by Lucinda’s family, Lisa sets out to right the wrong. As she begins digging under the surface, Lisa learns that everything is not quite what it first appears to be.

In Paula Daly’s heart-stopping debut novel, motherhood, marriage, and friendship are tested when a string of abductions tear through a small-town community. Gripping and fast-paced, Just What Kind of Mother Are You? introduces an outstanding new thriller writer with a terrifying imagination for the horrors that lurk in everyday lives.

The Review:

Paula Daly’s debut novel, Just What Kind of Mother Are You is an intricately plotted and riveting novel about a parents’ worst nightmare-a missing (and presumed kidnapped) child. This suspense laden thriller will keep readers glued to the edge of their seats as the investigation into Lucinda Riverty’s disappearance unfolds.

Lisa Kallisto is a happily married mom of three. Like many women today, she is stressed about finances and she is pulled in many directions as she holds down a full time job and takes care of her family. In the midst of an impossibly busy week, Lisa forgets her best friend’s daughter, Lucinda, is supposed to spend the night. The next day, the unthinkable occurs when Lisa learns that Lucinda has vanished without a trace.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You draws the reader into the story right away with a chilling prologue that is obviously from the kidnapper’s point of view. Equally compelling are the alternating viewpoints of Lisa and Joanna Aspinall, the Detective Constable investigating Lucinda’s disappearance. Lisa’s perspective is in first person which makes it easy to empathize with her guilt and growing desperation to help find Lucinda. Joanna’s portion of the story is told in third person and the reader gains valuable insight into the investigation. Brief scenes from the kidnapper’s perspective are interspersed with the rest of the story and contribute to the overall urgency of the unfolding story.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You is a fast-paced and compelling mystery. The characters are superbly developed and easy to relate to. Closely guarded secrets cloud the investigation and cast suspicion on various characters throughout the story. Paula Daly throws in some very unexpected twists and turns and the novel culminates with a shocking ending.

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1 Comment

Filed under Contemporary, Grove Press, Just What Kind of Mother Are You?, Mystery, Paula Daly, Rated B+, Review

One Response to Review: Just What Kind of Mother Are You? by Paula Daly

  1. Timitra

    Thanks for the review Kathy!