97. The Boy in the Photo by Nicole Trope

Synopsis (as taken from the Amazon Kindle Store) is as follows:

She becomes aware of the silence at the other end of the line. A prickling sensation crawls up her arms. Her heart speeds up.

‘Found who?’ she asks slowly, carefully, deliberately.

‘They found Daniel.’

Six years ago.

Megan waits at the school gates for her six-year-old son, Daniel. As the playground empties, panic bubbles inside her. Daniel is nowhere to be found. Her darling son is missing.

Six years later

After years of sleepless nights and endless days of missing her son, Megan finally gets the call she has been dreaming about. Daniel has walked into a police station in a remote town just a few miles away.

Megan is overjoyed – her son is finally coming home. She has kept Daniel’s room, with his Cookie Monster poster on the wall and a stack of Lego under the bed, in perfect shape to welcome him back. But when he returns, there is something different about Daniel…

According to the police, Daniel was kidnapped by his father. After his dad died in a fire, Daniel was finally able to escape. Desperate to find out the truth, Megan tries to talk to her little boy – but he barely answers her questions. Longing to help him heal, Megan tries everything – his favourite chocolate milkshake, a reunion with his best friend, a present for every birthday missed – but still, Daniel is distant.

As they struggle to connect, Megan begins to suspect that there is more to the story. Soon, she fears that her son is hiding a secret. A secret that could destroy her family…

Ability to read – Come Friday afternoon, I was falling asleep, my Nephew was over for the weekend and I needed a reading distraction. This was the book I chose and I finished it in a matter of hours. I was able to close off the outside world and leave reality behind as I dove headfirst into this book. The language was easy for me to understand and though the book jumped around in time and pov, I didn’t find it confusing or hard to follow. I got a clear understanding of what was happening from a variety of different characters and the scenes were consistent and rarely changed.

Characterisation – Megan sent me on an emotional roller coaster of all the feels in this books and by the end I felt that I knew all about her character. The way the plot was laid out depended heavily on the characters and their ability to connect with the reader. I certainly understood a lot of Megan’s grief and found myself planted behind her character from very early on in the book. I thought the way that she acted was justified and though I have no children and haven’t been in the situation her character had, I felt like I understood what she was going through. Similarly the other characters all gave me that kick that made me feel like I was part of the narrative instead of a reader watching from afar. The complexity of Daniel’s character felt very real and I felt that I could feel what had happened to him and as it was explained it came across as very real and not something that was faked or taken out of context. I felt very much like I was reading a personal and real account of something tragic, and not a fictionalized story.

Visualisation – It did take me a long while to realise it was set in Australia. I don’t think it was very clear on the setting in the first couple of chapters and that did confuse me for longer than it should have. However, aside from that, I was able to visualise what was happening very well. I did see the characters clearly and in more detail than the background setting and world building. I focused more on the characters because it was character driven and it was the characters emotions that fueled the story on.

Enjoyment – When I started to read this I didn’t know which way it was going to go. I also worried whether the story would be too dark for me to handle. Fortunately, I had dived into a book that was addictive and character driven in a way that I enjoyed rather in a way that made me want to throw the book, stop reading, or curse the authors name. This book was very well written and at times I struggled to remember that I was reading fiction and not a real account of something that had happened. The story was very realistic to me, with twists and turns that I hadn’t expected. (I did guess one of the big twists before it happened, but I was surprised that I had got it right.) This book was quite short – in comparison to other books I have read – and served as an interlude between heavier books. It was a very creative book and it was a book that made me think, not only about the character’s actions but about the real world and how devious people can be. I’m very glad I read this book and it has encouraged me to read more books from Kindle that I haven’t heard of.

Star Rating – ★★★★

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