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Monday, August 27, 2012

"The Playdate" by Louise Millar ~ Breathtaking Suspense!


In a quiet London suburb, a group of mothers relies on each other for friendship, favors, and gossip. But some of them shouldn’t be trusted, and others have dark secrets.
When Callie moved into her new neighborhood, she thought it would be easy to fit in. The other parents have been strangely hostile, though, and her frail daughter Rae is finding it impossible to make friends. Suzy, with her rich husband and her three energetic children, has been the only one to reach out, although their friendship has recently felt inexplicably strained. Now the police have suggested that someone dangerous may be living in their neighborhood, and the atmosphere feels even more toxic. Then there’s the matter of Callie’s ex-husband, and the shocking truth behind their divorce . . . a truth that she would do anything to hide.

Particulars of the Book :
  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
  • Publication date: 7/3/2012
  • Pages: 432
  • Genre:  Thriller/Suspense, General Fiction

  • Something About The Author:
    Louise Millar was raised in Scotland. She began her journalism career in music and film magazines. A former senior editor at Marie Claire, she has written for Red, Psychologies, Stella, the Observer, Glamour, Stylist, and The Guardian. She lives in London with her husband and daughters.

    Read an Excerpt and purchase a copy here:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-playdate-louise-millar/1107043658?ean=9781451656671

    The Bookish Dame Reviews :

    I'd read a bit about this book from another blogger somewhere in the blogosphere (I apologize that I can't remember where!) a few weeks ago, and and remember only slightly being caught by the idea that women were helping care for each other's children and something happened.  That was enough to get me off my duff and out to find "The Playdate."  With so many kidnappings and losses and killings of little children in this country in these times, it was a subject that I couldn't wait to see how a debut writer would handle.  Old subject?  New perspective!  I thought it would be enjoyable to read but easy to figure out.  Wrong!!!  Not so easy to figure out...suspenseful and very full-bodied!

    Perfect pitch in the dialogs whether among adults or adults with children.  Even internal dialogs are meaty and ring true...often anxiety-producing, often truly terrifying.  And speaking of pitch, much of the suspense and anxiety of the book is built around sounds both good and bad that are built upon throughout the book.  An unusual and fascinating technique that I enjoyed following.  Sound as horror...and sound as holy.

    Easily deniable/ordinary happenings with sinister underbellies first make us think we're safe, and then confuse us!  It's the use of these ordinary things we encounter every day, employed as background for a disaster just waiting to happen and juxtaposed with a pot boiling over that can hold us in the most tenderhooks.  Does the vaccum cleaner noise from next door really follow you from room to room as you move around your own house?  Who's watching your trash?

    While the book is set in London and country, it has none of the hard edge of the British writing that so many books of this mystery/suspense genre can have. It was easy reading, and such fun.

     I found absolutely all of Ms Millar's settings and characters engaging.  Each character was so well described--down to their individual ticks and manipulations.  It was a magical book to read.

    Often, I felt my heart racing with Callie, the single mother who just wanted to regain some of her "self" by returning to work at her beautiful job...which meant leaving her pre-school child in the after school care until she could get there.  Scenes describing Callie's emotions, her racing home from work, her anxieties and her heart-wrenching moments were some of the best I've read in this genre.  Just incredible writing that you could feel in your body.

    Suzy, Callie's best friend next door, was the best friend "every mom" so many of us know or have known who just seems to give it all for the children...hers and yours.  She's the earth mother type who doesn't seem quite like everyone else.  She's more devoted to her children than anything on earth, and her life displays that; is messy with it.  Millar gives wonderful life to this character.  The easy way Suze had of drawing in those who needed to be cared for, both mother and child.  We've all known moms like Suze.

    My favorite character was Callie, but the character who was most interestingly distressing and who rubbed me wrong the whole time, of course, was Debs.  Strange, alienated, weird and obviously a little mental, Debs was the new neighbor with very little to bolster her up....and very little reputation to stand on.  Millar uses this character in such a delightfully malicious way.  It's criminal!!!  Was she the kindly new after school helper and earnest next door neighbor, or a woman with violent and shady past?

    Louise Millar takes a subject close to our hearts; our children, and writes around the anxiety of who they really belong to, and who really cares for them.

    This is a book not to be missed.  I simply couldn't stop reading it.  It was my constant companion for 2 days!!  Highly recommended read.

    5 stars for a great read!    Deborah/TheBookishDame



    How awesome!!! I love books that are my constant companion for days! : ) This looks fantastic!


    Wow, that sounds like an emotional book! I think I won a copy recently so should be getting it soon.


    Sounds cool. I have saved it in my want to read list. :)

    Lori Johnston

    This is the first I've heard of this book but it sounds fantastic. Going to add to my TBR list now!

    Great review, thank you!

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