Mother May I, by Joshilyn Jackson

Bree Cabbatt grew up in poverty, but now she’s happily married to a wealthy lawyer, has two beautiful teenage daughters and a bonus later-in-life baby, and is thoroughly enjoying her life. Then every parent’s worst nightmare happens to Bree — her baby, snoozing soundly in his carseat, is snatched while her back is turned. And while there is a ransom note, the kidnapper’s demand is not for a share of her husband’s millions, which Bree would be happy to give. Instead, to get her baby back she’s asked to commit a dangerous act — which quickly turns far darker and more dangerous than she’d ever imagined.

Joshilyn Jackson, one of my favourite authors ever since her first novel Gods in Alabama, has turned in her last couple of books more in the direction of thrillers than general fiction, and while I don’t usually read thrillers, it’s a turn I’m willing to take in the hands of an author I trust so much. Mother May I kept me turning pages and on the edge of my seat, but the dark sides of human nature that are revealed as Bree attempts to get her child back are never just exploited for thrills and plot twists – they are explored with a sensitivity and depth you’d expect from a writer of Jackson’s calibre. I found this book hard to put down and read it in a day.

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