Written by: Mary Kubica
Published: July 28, 2015 by Harlequin
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica
She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can't get the girl out of her head...
Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family's objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.
Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow's past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she's willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.
*** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher at BEA and also on Edelweiss. This fact has not changed my opinion. ***
I picked up a copy of this book at BEA two years ago and despite being really excited to read it, I haven't read it until now. I don't know why I waited to read it because with every book of Mary Kubica's I read, I continue to be impressed by how fantastic a mystery and thriller writer she is. And while Pretty Baby is not my favorite of her books, it was incredibly engaging.
For one thing, Kubica's writing has a great way of drawing you in. It's got the perfect atmosphere to me. It pulls you in and I can't really explain why but there is something so subtle about it. It's not overwhelmingly mysterious but there is something just slightly off, so you're wondering what it could be. It's not really an action-packed book, in fact it's one that didn't pick up until much later in the book, but it is the kind of book that makes you want to keep reading. It draws you in to the story with questions and curiosities, which is something I love in my mysteries.
But when the plot of the book did kick in, it was incredibly captivating. The plot development here is intricate and well-plotted. There is not a lot of emphasis on the mystery elements and it's not overly psychological either. You would think that would make for a dull read but it doesn't. It's not that there isn't something (a few things actually) to solve, it just feel like the focus. But then when the puzzle pieces do fall together you are reeling and so entertained. There is a good balance between more psychological stuff and mystery which makes this a great read but I honestly would have liked a little bit more with some aspects of the mystery. Especially in the beginning, I didn't see what could be the endgame and it made it so that it took awhile for me to really get into the book.
But this is also a book that does a good job in balancing the character-driven moment with the plot. One thing that I really liked here and continue to be impressed by Kubica's work is her characterizations. With every book she alternates perspectives between multiple people and this is something that doesn't always work for me but with her books, it does. Here she has three unreliable narrators. It made for a well-rounded and interesting story to be in the head of these three very different people. One of the most compelling characters was Heidi, especially toward the end of the book. You kind of watch her deteriorate throughout the book and it was cringe-worthy and yet so interesting. She's a character that I just wanted to shake some sense into but at the same time she was totally empathetic. But each of the characters was like that, they perfectly walked the line between unlikable and likable.
The thing that might of helped with my enjoyment of the atmosphere and the characters was the fact that I listened to the audiobook. I really enjoyed it. There were three different narrators who did a great job getting into the head of these people. Not to mention the fact that they drew you into the plot of the book as well. I'm definitely loving listening to mysteries on audio and this is another example of why.
Once again I continue to be impressed by Mary Kubica. She's a fantastic writer of mysteries and psychological thrillers. Pretty Baby is a great read that will draw you and surprise you with great twists and complex characters.
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. If you are a fan of mysteries or psychological thriller then check this out. Mary Kubica is a master of the genre. If you have enjoyed her books then check this one out as well. It's not my favorite of her books but it is still really fantastic.
Have you read Pretty Baby? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!