Saturday 29 July 2017

Give Me The Child by Mel McGrath @mcgrathmj @HQStories #Review

An unexpected visitor.
Dr Cat Lupo aches for another child, despite the psychosis which marked her first pregnancy. So when Ruby Winter, a small girl in need of help, arrives in the middle of the night, it seems like fate.
A devastating secret.
But as the events behind Ruby’s arrival emerge – her mother’s death, her connection to Cat – Cat questions whether her decision to help Ruby has put her own daughter at risk.
Do we get the children we deserve?
Cat’s research tells her there’s no such thing as evil. Her history tells her she’s paranoid. But her instincts tell her different. And as the police fight to control a sudden spate of riots raging across the capital, Cat faces a race against time of her own…
Compulsive, dark and devastating, Give Me the Child is a uniquely skilful thriller with an unforgettable twist.

Give Me The Child by Mel McGrath was published by HQ Stories on 27 July 2017.

"Do we get the children we deserve?"

So, do we get the children that we deserve? An interesting question and one that is at the centre of this chilling story. This is so much more than just a psychological thriller, it is 'grip-lit' at its finest, with secrets and lies a plenty. However, in Give Me The Child, the author cleverly and shockingly explores how those lies can impact on children, especially when it is a child who is being forced to lie.

Back to the start then.  Dr Cat Lupo and her husband Tom appear, on the surface to have it all. She's a neuro-psychiatrist, working with troubled children whilst Tom stays at home to look after eleven-year old Freya whilst working on designing a complex computer game. For a time, they were known as 'Couple Number One'; attending the best parties and mixing with the elite, until Cat made a huge mistake at work. Coupled with an episode of post-natal psychosis, this is when their life changed and their marriage became stale and unexciting. 

Cat would dearly love another child but Tom is not keen. When, early one morning, there is a knock on the door and a small girl arrives, Cat's world shatters. It seems that the girl, Ruby Winter, is Tom's illegitimate daughter, conceived whilst Cat was in the psychiatric ward.

As Cat tries to accept Ruby Winter, she also becomes frightened, and soon begins to fear for her own daughter's safety. This is her story, told in her words against the backdrop of violence on the streets of London which turn to riots and chaos in the city.

Mel McGrath is a clever and astute author who keeps her readers on the edge throughout this compelling and addictive thriller. I was struck by the similarities between the turbulence in Cat's mind and life and the escalating violence in the city, it is very cleverly done and adds depth to the story. The portrayal of Cat's mental illness and how she is perceived because of it is both frightening and frustrating, yet incredibly realistic. It is clear that the author has researched the subject of adolescent mental health issues thoroughly, and there is a constant air of authenticity within the plot, the narrative and the characters.

Give Me The Child has such an original premise, it is complex and full of twists. The characterisation is perfectly done and the riot-torn London setting is superb. This is not just a dark and delicious thriller, it is a book that raises serious questions. It is a story that will make the reader think about that question: 'Do we get the children we deserve?'

Mel McGrath is an Essex girl, the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling family memoir Silvertown. She won the John Llewellyn-Rhys/Mail on Sunday award for Best Writer Under 35 for her first book, Motel Nirvana. She has published three Arctic mysteries featuring the Inuit detective Edie Kiglatuk under the name MJ McGrath, the first of which, The Boy in the Snow, was shortlisted for a CWA Gold Dagger.
In the last year she has been one of the founders and moving lights of the website Killer Women, which has rapidly established itself as one of the key forums for crime writing in the UK. This new standalone marks a change in direction
Find out more at
Follow her on Twitter @mcgrathmj

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