17414612When the week starts off, Lisa Kallisto is exhausted. Her life is one big juggling act, between work and domestic responsibilities. And just when she thinks it can’t get any worse, her best friend’s thirteen-year-old daughter Lucinda has gone missing. And it seems as though Lisa is to blame, since the girl was supposed to sleep over with her daughter Sally, but there has been some kind of miscommunication.

Between the hatred and fury she sees from her friend Kate and Kate’s sister Alexa, who is brutal on a normal day, Lisa has sunk to an all-time low.

Meanwhile, another girl goes missing, and the search is on. Troutbeck, in Cumbria, is one of those communities where these things do not happen, so everyone is helping out in the search.

The characters include Detective Constable Joanne Aspinell, who is diligent and likeable. We glimpse a bit of her home life, too, which she shares with Mad Jackie, her aunt.

Kate and Guy Riverty, and the unlikeable Alexa and her husband Adam, have offered what appears to be friendship to Joe and Lisa, whose financial circumstances place them in another category from the others. It is natural, then, that Lisa feels the need to ingratiate herself and overly apologize at times. This sets the tone for their relationships.

Interspersed within the story in an alternating perspective is the voice of the perpetrator, who shows us a bit more of what he is about with each entry.

Just What Kind of Mother Are You? is a mystery, a thriller, and a domestic drama that reeled me in from the very first page. The characters were ordinary people that evoked the emotions we feel for people we know. Dislike for the strange Rivertys and for Alexa Willard. These characters can only elicit sympathy from the reader because of what has happened to Lucinda. Otherwise, they are the kinds of characters we hope will get their comeuppance. Snotty, opinionated, and superior.

So when things turn out to be more convoluted than it seems at first glance, I could not stop rapidly turning those pages to arrive at the perfect denouement. A great new author to add to my list. I loved how all of my favorite elements were combined in this story: family drama, mystery, and a thriller ambience that left me with a wonderful feeling of satisfaction. And the settings were drawn so well that I felt as though I were right there, walking the streets of the village. Five stars.



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