After reading several Historical Fiction stories, I was ready for a change, so I picked up both of these thrillers/suspense stories. One is a Legal Thriller with Mental Health issues, the second is a Domestic Thriller. Both had me up way to late to finish them.

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The Perfect Daughter by D.J. Palmer, Narrated by Dan Bittner & January LaVoy

Published April 20th 2021 by Macmillan Audio, St. Martin’s Press

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Grace Francone has returned home from a run to find her sixteen year old daughter, Penny gone. She has no idea where she could be, as this is not something she normally does. Within minutes, two police officers are at her door informing her that her daughter is at the police station on suspicion of murder. Penny was found holding the murder weapon and covered in blood. Not only that, but the murdered woman is her biological mother. Penny remembers nothing about the night nor the incident. She ends up in a psychiatric hospital under the care of Dr. Mitch McHugh. Grace is positive that Penny is innocent, and if she did commit the crime, it was another of her personalities that did it, you see, Penny suffers from DID, Dissociative Identity Disorder. Hiring a lawyer and working with her doctor, Grace spends all her time trying to prove Penny’s innocence.

Whenever I read a book that deals with a real mental illness, I always go in with some trepidation. I really liked the way D.J. Palmer portrays Penny’s disorder. The doctor also explains about DID in very to understand terms, although it is a very complex disorder. Having said that, I did enjoy this story very much. The characters were very well developed. The story was told from the POVs of Grace and her younger son. Grace is a nurturing and loving mother who is as strong as steel inside, and will stop at nothing to free her daughter. It’s how she goes about doing this that propels the story forward. The story is fast paced as time is of the essence to find a lawyer, find the evidence and prove Penny’s innocence. The descriptions and situations of the psychiatric hospital were disturbing and if they are realistic, I would not want any of my family to be there. The Francone family is not without it’s cracks before this ordeal starts and it is a delicate balance to hold it together. Not only is there a mystery of what actually happened that night, but there is a mystery about Penny’s birth and early life that ended up with her alone in a park when she was very young. As the pieces to the puzzle are figured out, I was once again racing through this story to see where it was going. The addition of Dr. McHugh’s personal issues gave him a human side and showed why he worked so hard with Grace to find an answer. The final twists and secrets came as a total shock, but I loved it. A very well written story that I definitely recommend. Another author that will have me checking out their backlist. The narration of this book by Dan Bittner & January LaVoy was excellent. Once again having both a male and female narrator gave distinct voices to the characters which added to my enjoyment of this story. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.


Playing Nice: A Novel

Playing Nice by J.P. Delaney, Narrated by Ben Elliot, Amelia Cormack, and Peter Forbes

Published July 28th 2020 by Random House Audio, Ballentine Books

4.5 Stars:

This was my first book by J.P. Delaney, and I will definitely look at his backlist. This is the story of a parent’s worst nightmare. Your child is two years old and someone shows up at your door and tells you that your child and theirs were switched at birth and the one you are raising is not yours. Pete Riley is a devoted dad, who works from home so he can spend time with his son while his partner works. They love Theo, even though he has some issues. When they find out that he is not their biological son, they plan to work with the other couple to spend time together, but not switch the boys back. One of the issues is that David, has a lot of medical issues due to his premature birth, in face, he was not expected to survive. Well, the best intentions do not always work out.

This story grabbed me right from the beginning and did not let up. It is a dark and suspenseful psychological/domestic thriller that has so many ups and downs. The twists surprised me, but made me keep reading and listening well after I should have gone to bed. I liked that the story was told in short chapters, which is probably another reason that I kept reading, just one more chapter. The characters were well developed and I loved how the author doled out information about them as the story progressed. As the secrets were revealed and Pete found out things about Miles, I was praying that both Theo and David would be safe, remember the story of King Solomon? I do not want to give away any more of the story, but I definitely recommend this on to those who love psychological thrillers that have some family drama as well. I did a read/listen with this book and the team of narrators. Ben Elliot, Amelia Cormack, and Peter Forbes, did an excellent job. Having three narrators allowed the main characters to have very distinct voices which adds so much to an audiobook. I really enjoyed the expression, tone and inflection used to dramatize this story.