Cat Lupo has a wonderful little family with husband Tom and her young daughter, Freya. But her happy family life gets a very rude awakening when the police arrive late one night with a little girl, Ruby Winter, who turns out to be the product of Tom's secret affair. As a child psychologist, Cat is an expert in troubled children and what she sees in Ruby unsettles her, not least as Ruby seems to have Freya under her spell. Cat turns to Tom to try to air her fears but Tom's loyalty to his new daughter proves problematic. Is Ruby a danger to Cat and her family or is Tom right in suggesting that Cat is jealous and paranoid?
Mel McGrath has done what great psychological thrillers should do in creating a dizzying, unsettling page-turner of a book, centred on the fascinating world of child psychology. McGrath largely maintains believability whilst also crafting a plot that is full of shocks and menace and the focus on a child antagonist is a brilliant ploy. I did feel the ending and the overlap between Cat's personal and professional lives felt a bit staged but overall this is one of those books that really makes the reader live through the protagonist's distress. (JC)