A happy child.
Every parent knows the world can be scary. Lawyer Jen Sutton knows it better than most. And she’ll go to any length to protect her son from what – and who – lies outside their front door.
A loving mother.
Some might say she’s being overprotective. But isn’t it a mother’s duty to protect her child from harm?
A family built on a lie.
Jen has kept her secrets safe. Until the postcard arrives, signed by the one person she hoped would never catch up with her… and her new case begins to feel a little too close to home.
One thing is clear: Jen has been found.
Now, she faces a choice. Run, and lose everything? Or fight – and risk her son discovering the truth.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this book, but one thing is for sure….its a damn good read! Whilst it builds the tension right from the start and, especially from the mid-way point I couldn’t turn the pages quick enough, the fact remains that I didn’t like Jen…..but maybe that was A.L. Bird’s intention all along?
Right from the outset it is clear that Jen lives on her nerves, always looking over her shoulder, paranoid that her past has finally caught up with her…..but what is she so afraid of?! The start of this book is confusing and disjointed as it’s told entirely from Jen’s point of view in her heightened emotive state therefore her thoughts are not pieced together logically. This is an extremely effective way of both conveying how anxious Jen is and beginning to build the tension.
Jen is living in Luton with her 10-year-old boy, Josh, who she is fiercely protective of to the verge of suffocating. Jen has a job at a local law practice but ensures that she is the one dropping off and picking Josh up from school every day. As the story unravels it becomes clear as to why Jen is as protective as she is.
Jen isn’t a meek and reserved victim of her past; she is extremely ballsy in the protection of Josh and her thoughts show that she does not and will not take any prisoners when it comes to him. I really liked Josh’s character who is, in his own way, protective of his mother and understanding of her anxiety and over-protectiveness despite not fully understanding why she is the way she is.
Don’t Say a Word is a fast past book with short snappy chapters (my personal favourite type of chapters!) yet from about the mid-way point, Bird takes it to another level. I could not read it fast enough (to the point where I was late to work in an attempt to finish it!).
I thorough enjoyed Bird’s first novel, The Good Mother but this is better – a relentless pace that keeps you on the edge of your seat through to the very end – at times I felt as anxious as Jen!
I live in North London, where I divide my time between writing and working as a lawyer. The Good Mother is my major psychological thriller for Carina UK, embarking into the world of ‘grip-lit’. I have an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London, and am also an alumna of the Faber Academy ‘Writing a Novel’ course, which I studied under Richard Skinner.