You’d always recognise your own child.
My Husband’s Son is the debut novel from Deborah O’ Connor and was released by Twenty7, an imprint of Bonnier Zaffre Publishing, on 16th June 2016.
Twenty7 specialise in debut fiction from every genre and are currently releasing some amazing debuts.
I received my copy from NetGalley and Bonnier Zaffre Publishing in return for my honest review.
‘Heidi and Jason aren’t like other couples.
Six years ago, Heidi’s daughter was murdered. A year later, Jason’s son Barney disappeared. Their shared loss brought them together.
By chance, Heidi meets a boy she’s certain is Barney.
But Jason is equally convinced it’s not him.
Is Heidi mad? Or is Jason hiding something? And can their fragile marriage survive Heidi’s newfound quest for the truth . . .’
My Husband’s Son is quite a disturbing book for many reasons. It deals with the terrifying subject of a child going missing and also the lengths that a person will go to in search for that child.
We are introduced to Heidi and Jason. They are a married couple with a very unusual past. Both have suffered terrible losses and are attempting to come to terms with these losses together. Heidi’s daughter, Lauren, was murdered six years previously and Barney, Jason’s son, has been missing for five years.
Heidi initially comes across as a woman with steely determination. Her life is consumed by her past and every waking moment is a painful one. As we move through the book we are slowly introduced to the horror that surrounded Lauren’s abduction and subsequent murder. Heidi recalls the feeling of when she knew Lauren was gone…forever..surely every parent’s worst nightmare.
‘A feeling had started to harden inside me, a feeling I knew to be true but I wanted to ignore. A feeling that the moment to act was gone, that something tectonic had already shifted and changed and there was nothing I could do to shift it back’
Jason, is a man on the edge. Previously married to Vicky, he continues in his pursuit of Barney. The pain and anguish he is suffering with the loss of his son is palpable. He has changed careers, divorced Vicky and married Heidi but time will not move beyond that fateful moment when Barney went missing.
Jason and Heidi meet, following tragic circumstances, at a conference on missing children. Their married life seem to be built on a very fragile footing. One would have to query the reality of such a situation occurring, but as I have read, Deborah O’ Connor based her story loosely on such a couple in the US. This makes the story even more frightening, as a parent myself.
Heidi refers to one of the simpler methods she uses on a daily basis in dealing with this life sentence she has been handed- wearing high heels!!
‘It was hard to explain, even to myself, but by wearing heels – things that by their very nature made it difficult to walk – I found I could force myself to stay conscious of the act of putting one step in front of the other……..wearing them meant I never grew complacent about going forward, onward, toward whatever the future might bring’
I loved this description, purely due to it’s simplicity. How such a simple daily ritual can carry a person through the day.
While in an off-licence one day, Heidi is convinced she sees Barney behind the counter. This is where the book takes a very strange twist. Heidi becomes obsessed. Jason is not for convincing. Jason knows Barney and this boy is not him!
Heidi changes at this point in the book. There is an element of doubt introduced in the reader’s mind. Who really took Barney?
Heidi has a very good job, a great husband and a very good friend, all loved by Heidi very much but yet….
In her search for the truth about this boy she is convinced is Barney, her life begins to crumble
‘Something between us had fractured, just below the surface. And so, even though it felt like I was decorating the fissures and cracks splitting there way up our walls with patterned paper and fairy lights, I found myself doing it anyway. I found myself having to try.’
Heidi, a woman possessed, seems almost to carry on in trance like fashion. She is able to justify all her rather sleazy actions with the fact that the truth will emerge and she will have been vindicated.
Her actions cast doubt on so many angles that so far had been explained and accounted for.
Jason is portrayed as the weaker of the two and you are left wondering what really happened between Jason and Vicky the day Barney disappeared. Heidi becomes increasingly suspicious and continues her search for the truth…at any cost.
‘There would come a point soon when I’d have to think about the things that had gone on between us, when I’d have to acknowledge the things I’d let him do’
I have been reading many psychological thrillers recently.
It is a genre I had put to one side for sometime, due to what I felt was the repetitiveness of many of the books. Currently, there is a huge market for this style of writing and I can see why. There has been a shift in the market, where there is now an influx of new writers thanks to publishers like Bonnier Zaffre. It has expanded the choice for the reader, me included, to discover new faces on the writing scene. All very positive news for both reader and writer alike.
My Husband’s Son is a compelling debut from Deborah O’ Connor. It is a twisted, almost voyeuristic suspense novel that will really keep you guessing until the end. There is quite a dramatic revelation at the end of the book..NO SPOILERS!!!
It’s a book you will have to pick up and find out for yourself…..
Currently available as an ebook format, My Husband’s Son is soaring up the charts and is the first book of many, I am sure, in a very successful writing career for Deborah O’ Connor.
Deborah O’Connor is a writer and TV producer.
Born and bred in the North-East of England, in 2010 she completed the Faber Academy novel writing course.
She lives in London with her husband and daughter.