Saturday 24 March 2018

Filicide and film-making in baltimore

Hush Hush, Laura Lippman, Faber & Faber, pbk, 320p, £12.99

Hush Hush
Hush Hush
Disclaimer book

Myles McWeeney

Melisandre Harris Dawes committed filicide, a crime that in most mothers' eyes is unforgivable. On a searingly hot day she left her two-month-old baby daughter locked in her car while she sunbathed on the bank of the Patapsco river in Baltimore.

At her trial, she was found not guilty of murder by reason of criminal insanity and fled her family and the USA to start a new life in South Africa. Now she is back, determined to meet with her two other daughters, now teenagers, and her former husband who has remarried and has a new child. What's more, Melisandre wants to film the reunion with her estranged daughters as part of a documentary she is making on the events around her trial. Concerned about the less than sympathetic reaction her return to the city is receiving, Melisandre gets her lawyer to hire former reporter turned private investigator Tess Monaghan and her new sidekick, retired cop Sandy Sanchez, to protect her.

The job conflicts Tess, given that she now has a feisty three-year-old daughter called Carla Scout, but Melisandre's lawyer is her mentor and close friend so she goes along with it. But as events in Baltimore spiral out of control, Tess finds that Melisandre is not the only one under threat - she has her own equally dangerous stalker. This is the 12th Tess Monaghan adventure, packed with sparky dialogue and serpentine plot twists.

Guilty secret makes for a chilling read

Disclaimer, Renée Knight

Doubleday, pbk, 304p, £12.99

Catherine has just moved into her new home. Among the books stacked on her bedside table is a novel called The Perfect Stranger by EJ Preston.

She starts reading and to her horror, finds it is an accurate account of a day from 20 years ago she would much rather forget, a day that she has kept hidden from her husband and her now adult son.

She has no idea who the author is, but he knows her and her guilty secret and he is about to extact a chilling revenge.

A genuinely original debut novel, nail-bitingly tense and chilling. Highly recommended.

Both books available with free P&P or by calling 091 709350

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