The scrap of paper looked as if it had been torn from a diary. The words written in faint pencil. The letters rounded, almost childlike: Please look after her. Her life and mine depend on you not trying to find me.
When Detective Alana Mack arrives at Clonabee police station, in a small Irish seaside town on the outskirts of Dublin, she doesn’t expect to find a distressed two-year-old girl sobbing on the floor. Abandoned in a local supermarket, the child tells them her name is Casey. All Alana and her team have to go on is a crumpled note begging for someone to look after her little girl. This mother doesn’t want to be found.
Still recovering from a terrible accident that has left Alana navigating a new life as a wheelchair user, Alana finds herself suddenly responsible for Casey while trying to track down the missing mother and solve another missing person’s case… a retired newsagent who has seemingly vanished from his home.
Forced to ask her ex-husband and child psychiatrist Colm for help, through Forensic Art Therapy, Alana discovers that whatever darkness lies behind the black windows in Casey’s crayon drawing, the little girl was terrified of the house she lived in.
Then a bag of human remains is found in a bin, and a chilling link is made – the DNA matches Casey’s.
Alana and her team must find the body and make the connection with the missing newsagent fast if she is to prevent another life from being taken. But with someone in her department leaking confidential details of the investigation to the media, can Alana set aside her emotional involvement in this case and find Casey’s mother and the killer before it’s too late?
Heart-pounding and totally addictive, The Puppet Maker is the first in the Detective Alana Mack series.
When Detective Alana Mack arrives for work one day at Clonabee Police Station, she didn’t expect to not only have to look after an abandoned two-year-old girl but would also need to investigate the discovery of human remains.
The hunt is on to find a murderer and to reunite a mother with her daughter. Can Alana and her team solve the mystery in time before another life is lost?
This is not only the first book I’ve read by Jenny O’ Brien, it’s the first book in a new series and introduces Detective Alana Mack.
I loved Alana. She’s had her fair share of tragic events happen in her life but she exhibits humour, strength and she doesn’t take any c***. There is also a lot of history surrounding Alana’s life and I hope we learn more as the series progresses.
Told mainly from the point of view of Alana and a character named Penny, the plot moves well with many twists and turns and I ended up reading into the night, wanting to know what was going to happen.
It covers some strong themes and the nature of the crimes is not for the faint of heart.
There’s really not much else I can say about this novel without giving a lot away.
This is a compelling psychological thriller that scared me in many places and had me on the edge of my seat. If you’re a fan of the genre and looking for a new series, this would be perfect.
Thanks to Netgalley and Rachel’s Random Resources for the advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.
About Jenny O’ Brien –
In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer.
Jenny is represented by Nicola Barr of The Bent Agency and published by Storm Publishing and HQ Digital (Harper Collins).
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.