Charlotte waves at her mother across the crowded lawn. Little red boots on, cowboy hat crooked over her blonde pigtails, she’s been looking forward to this party for weeks. Moments later, she disappears without a trace…
Kathy Hamilton drives away from her sister-in-law’s pristine-white suburban house in Maple Falls certain she’s left her daughter in safe hands. On the hottest day of the year, a birthday is a perfect excuse to gather friends, family, and neighbors around the pool for a barbecue. But when she returns hours later to find her little girl has vanished, her world shatters.
Nobody laughing and drinking in the garden that day saw anything unusual.
Kathy’s eldest daughter is anxious and hardly eating. Is she sick with worry for her sister, or hiding a terrible secret?
The phone rings and rings, but why can’t Kathy get hold of the babysitter?
And is she imagining it, or when her husband rushed from work to join the search, was he wearing a different shirt to the one she saw him leave the house in that morning?
As the temperature rises, and long-buried secrets begin to surface, it’s clear that even the most perfect families keep devastating secrets. But in a town as small as this, is there anyone you can trust?
Title: The Birthday Party
Author: Wendy Dranfield
Published: January 7, 2022
My Rating: 4.5 stars
The Birthday Party grabbed me by the throat and the emotions from the opening pages and never released that grip until the very end… and even now, after an intentional sleepless night to finish it by today parts of it linger in my mind. I’ve loved Wendy Dranfield’s work, but this one goes up another level in the twists, did she really go there aspect and the secrets that keep popping out when least expected. I suspect I’ll be opening this one up again in a few weeks to find the clues I’m sure I missed considering that ending, and it will be a re-read well worth my time.
As with any Crime/Murder/Thriller/Mystery review of mine, don’t expect spoilers or for me to tell you the story. The Birthday Party is so full of intriguing twists, hidden secrets that folks will do anything to hide, and people that Kathy knows beginning to show their true selves to the world – no, you won’t find spoilers here. Only praise for a well-written, intense thriller that will haunt any reader, and open up another view to the wealthy, well-to-do community that Kathy and Charlie live in proving that evil can and does exist anywhere.
Anything you need to know to entice your imagination before picking up this story can be found in the Cover Description. What you won’t find there are the goosebumps that certain scenes provoke, the breaking apart each and every person’s account of what happened and their part in it looking for clues or the dread that will settle into your stomach as more and more secrets are revealed leaving one to wonder just what someone would do to keep those precious, dangerous secrets from being told.
If you love a good, involved, tense Crime Thriller then The Birthday Party is a perfect match for you. I didn’t see the culprit coming, oh, I suspected everyone at some point, but I didn’t see that. And that’s all I’m saying about the ending to this one. Grab this one, I don’t believe you’ll be disappointed at all in that decision.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
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