It’s never easy reviewing a psychological thriller – how much do you tell without spoiling it for others? But what I can share is that this was a book that had me hooked from the start, with a child sprinkling magic dust on her Tiny Tears doll in the hope it will turn into a real baby, only to tear off its head and throw it in the fire when the magic fails to work.
This is a book full of strong female characters. Claudia is heavily pregnant, working as a social worker right up to her time of delivery so that she can have additional time with her child when it arrives. She’s married to James, a naval officer who goes on long tours of duty on submarines, and has taken on his twin four year old sons from his previous marriage. He will be away when she gives birth, so she takes on a nanny – Zoe, who comes highly recommended – to help with the boys and the baby when it arrives, and to give her some much needed support. But there’s something about Zoe that Claudia doesn’t quite trust, and then the attacks on pregnant women begin. The attacks are investigated by Detective Inspectors Lorraine Fisher and Adam Scott, a married couple struggling with their own family issues.
I haven’t read anything by Samantha Hayes before, but if all her books are this gripping I need to explore her back catalogue. I love an unreliable narrator, and this book is overflowing with them. The story twists, when they come, take your breath away and rock you to your foundations – the plotting is quite superb. I read the book in one sitting, but its short punchy chapters are just the right structure for a gripping book like this – I just couldn’t put it down, and had to read to the wonderful end. Recommended highly to everyone who likes their thrillers with unexpected twists and turns, and so well written too.
Samantha Hayes has an excellent website with a fascinating introduction to this book. She grew up in the Midlands, travelled the world, then moved to Australia for three years, got married, and had her children between 1991 and 1998. Having lived in the UK and the USA, they have now settled back in Warwickshire. Since 2007 she has had four novels published by Headline under the name Sam Hayes – Blood Ties, Unspoken, Tell Tale and Someone Else’s Son. Her books are now published by Century and Arrow, and this is the first in her new detective series based in Birmingham and written as Samantha Hayes.
Until You’re Mine was published in hardback and for Kindle on 20th June 2013, and will be available in paperback in January 2014. My thanks to netgalley and the publishers Century/Random House for the advance reading copy.