Published by Bookouture on March 29th, 2018
Genres: Psychological Thriller
‘Thrilling, intense. Readers of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl will love Shalini Boland.’ Red Adept
‘Don’t take my baby.’
Kirstie Rawlings is jolted awake by a child crying. Racing upstairs to check on her new-born, she is plunged into every parents’ worst nightmare. She hears an unknown voice in the baby monitor, saying: ‘Let’s take the child – and go.’
Is someone trying to steal her little girl?
In the bedroom, her daughter is safe asleep in her cot. Is the voice coming from a nearby house? But there aren’t any other babies living on her quiet country road…
The police don't believe her. And neither does her husband.
Kirstie knows something isn’t right. She thought she could trust her neighbours, now she isn’t sure. As she unravels the secrets of the people living on her street, Kirstie’s perfect life begins to fall apart.
Because someone is hiding a terrible lie. And they will do anything to stop Kirstie uncovering the truth. But is the danger closer to home than she thinks?
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The Child Next Door is my first excursion into the world of author Shalini Boland who bills herself as a writer of suspenseful thrillers and dark adventures. I’ve been in darker worlds than the one she writes, but, honestly, can anything be much darker than the fear that your child is in danger of being stolen from you? Kirstie Rawlings and her husband Dom have been together since they were 5 years old. They’ve paid their dues through good times and bad and now they’ve realized a dream long-held in their baby girl Daisy. What could be more alarming than to hear voices through your baby monitor threatening to take this beloved child? From that point forward the author methodically builds the suspense as we begin to fear Kirstie has become unhinged. Her character is very strongly written and even when her actions seem more and more irrational, we understand she has the self-awareness to know how she must appear to others; however, Kirstie puts aside any concern for appearances and protects her daughter with dogged determination. We also understand her husband is a weak man who doesn’t deserve this strong woman, so be prepared to dislike him immensely.
Katie Villa is a very good narrator. Although this is my first experience with her, it certainly won’t be the last. There are some nasty characters, some nice characters, and some creepy characters in this book and she creates the right voice for each one.
So . . . The Child Next Door has all the requisite elements for a good psychological thriller. We have mystery, suspense, and mind games galore. As I listened to author Shalini Boland’s words, I kept trying to solve the mystery as one does with all books of this genre. Is it all in Kirstie’s mind? Who’s the bad guy? Is it the nerdy next-door neighbor? Is it the ex-girlfriend? Is it the flirtatious BFF? Or is it one of those parachute characters who occasionally drops out of the sky to resolve a mystery? I think you are going to be surprised as secrets are revealed, and you may begin to feel a little disappointed by the neatness of the bows that tie up the package. Personally, I thought of a dozen twists I might have used if it had been my book. But — wait for it! The epilogue will leave you with a nice little zinger that will not only make you smile, but will totally creep you out!!! So worth the wait!!! For my psycho addicts, whether you’ve read this author’s work or not, you will surely want to put The Child Next Door on your TBR list!