EXCERPT: My mind churns with the possibilities this scenario suggests. Someone watching us – for years perhaps. Planning. Someone studying every detail of my family’s routine. Waiting. Someone who hates us. Me. Someone who would do anything, absolutely anything, to get revenge. Someone who knew that when the day came, there would be absolutely nothing I could do to stop them.
I feel the past stirring in me, as if time were running on a loop and I will now be forced to go back there. There are things that if I said them would cost me everything I have left. Fredrik, Lyder, this home, my job, perhaps even my life. Any chance of getting Lucia back. But could it be, if Lucia was taken for revenge, that speaking up could prove to be the only way to find her? And we have to find her. I have always said I would give up anything, even my own life, to find my child. But would I? Would I really?
ABOUT THIS BOOK: Lucia Blix went home from school for a playdate with her new friend Josie. Later that evening, Lucia’s mother Elisa dropped her overnight things round and kissed her little girl goodnight.
That was the last time she saw her daughter.
The next morning, when Lucia’s dad arrived to pick her up, the house was empty. No furniture, no family, no Lucia.
In Playdate, Alex Dahl puts a microscope on a seemingly average, seemingly happy family plunged into a life-altering situation. Who has taken their daughter, and why?
MY THOUGHTS: A novel idea, well executed, Playdate had me on the edge of my seat for the majority of the read. As with Dahl’s first book, The Boy at the Door, Playdate is an unsettling read. The characters are mercurial, the reader’s perception of them constantly being challenged and changing.
It is impossible to know who, if anyone, is telling the truth. Fragments of the truth, yes, but definitely not the whole truth. And as little truths were revealed, my sympathies shifted from one character to another to another. But by the end, the only people I felt any sympathy for were the two little girls, Lucia and Josie, and Selma’s father.
The story is narrated from five points of view – Elisa, Lucia’s mother; Lucia herself; the kidnapper; a prisoner; and Selma, a journalist who has her own unique way of unearthing stories and the truth. The role of the prisoner intrigued me, and it took me a while to figure it out. Selma was far cleverer than I.
Alex Dahl has written a taut and suspenseful psychological thriller that kept me slightly off balance for most of the read. But the epilogue…did we need it? Or is there more to come?
We are all more than the sum total of what we show others, even our spouses and children. There are vast unseen spaces inside us that could be filled with anything at all…
The sun is always shining, whether (we can) see it or not.
THE AUTHOR: Half-American, half-Norwegian, Alex Dahl was born in Oslo. She graduated with a B.A. in Russian and German linguistics with international studies and went on to complete an M.A. in creative writing at Bath Spa University, followed by an M.S. in business management at Bath University. Alex has published short stories in the U.K. and the U.S. She is a serious Francophile and currently lives in both London and Sandefjord.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Head of Zeus via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Playdate by Alex Dahl for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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