Although today’s book was a DNF for me, I would still heartily recommend it to you if you enjoy psychological thrillers featuring creepy children. We received Give Me the Child by Mel McGrath from Harlequin Australia for review and here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
An unexpected visitor.
Dr Cat Lupo aches for another child, despite the psychosis which marked her first pregnancy. So when Ruby Winter, a small girl in need of help, arrives in the middle of the night, it seems like fate.
A devastating secret.
But as the events behind Ruby’s arrival emerge – her mother’s death, her connection to Cat – Cat questions whether her decision to help Ruby has put her own daughter at risk.
Do we get the children we deserve?
Cat’s research tells her there’s no such thing as evil. Her history tells her she’s paranoid. But her instincts tell her different. And as the police fight to control a sudden spate of riots raging across the capital, Cat faces a race against time of her own…
Even though I DNFed this at 81 pages (chapter nine), it is not for the reasons you expect. In fact, for the 81 pages I read, I was engaged, creeped out and thoroughly looking forward to the storm of batsh*t crazy that was no doubt going to explode in the second half of the book. The reason I put this book down is purely because I could no longer bear to read about one of the characters – Cat’s “King of the Manchildren” husband, Tom.
But back to the good bits. The book is a psychological thriller based upon the question of what would one do if a long-lost child turned up on the doorstep needing sanctuary…but said child was also significantly emotionally damaged. This is the situation in which Cat finds herself, when the product of Tom’s affair (undertaken when his wife was in the HOSPITAL, PREGNANT and suffering from PRE-NATAL PSYCHOSIS!!) is unexpectedly thrust into the bosom of their family after the death of the child’s mother. From the get-go, Cat is uneasy about the arrangement (perfectly understandably, one would think) and as she goes about tying up the loose ends of the child’s life, discovers some events which give her pause…not least because Cat is a doctor who deals with children displaying characteristics of psychopathy.
The story begins to unfold as you would expect. There are incidences that send a shiver up your spine. Cat tries to be welcoming to Ruby (the child) but is conflicted by her resentment of her manchild husband whose manchild actions have caused such disruption to the family. Tom begins to show more loyalty to Ruby than Cat. The suspense is taut, the potential for exciting and thoroughly spine-tingling disaster is ready for tapping….
…but then I just snapped. When Tom – philanderer, crap husband and emotionally immature asshat – tells Cat that she’s being paranoid (a direct attack designed to shame her for having a completely unavoidable episode of mental illness in pregnancy) and that he won’t get his new child (who has obviously experienced trauma and neglect) therapy in order to ease the transition into her new family, I could not stomach reading one more second of book that had Tom in it. In fact, I was wishing fervently that Tom could somehow be whooshed out of this book and into the Game of Thrones series, there to be eviscerated by whatever would be the most painful means.
Perhaps my irritability trigger is heightened at the moment.
But I just couldn’t bear to share the story with Tom any more.
However, I would love to know how it ends. If you do happen to read it – and I really hope you do because it has all the hallmarks of a spectacular psychological thriller – please let me know how it ends.
And if Tom somehow manages to get off scot-free, feel free to make up some horrible fate for him. I’ll believe you.
Until next time,