Reviewed by Jim Napier
Susan Koss enjoys a rewarding life as a family psychologist and single parent raising her twelve-year-old daughter Maddy in the Glebe district of Ottawa. But this comfortable existence is suddenly turned upside down when an elderly man spots Maddy on the street. Daniel Kagan is absolutely certain that Maddy is his long-lost granddaughter, who disappeared when her parents were killed in a vehicle accident more than a decade earlier. Daniel follows Maddy home and tries to get close to the family.
Susan fears for her daughter’s safety. Kazan is clearly mistaken. After all, she is Maddy’s birth mother, and they have been together for her daughter’s entire life. When Kazan becomes obsessive, Susan fears for her daughter’s safety. She suggests DNA tests to resolve the issue. Shockingly, the results indicate that Susan is not Maddy’s mother, and even more ominously, they don’t rule out the possibility that Daniel might be Maddy’s grandfather after all. As if this were not bad enough, Maddy suddenly disappears from the family home. The ensuing police search turns up no clue as to her whereabouts. Susan’s world is collapsing around her.
Although she has published short stories previously, Not Your Child is the author’s debut novel, and it is among the strongest such works I’ve seen. It is original and polished, with believable dialogue and a strong sense of atmosphere. The characters are engaging and nuanced; the author is particularly effective in portraying the obsessed grandfather in a partly sympathetic light. Add to that a crisp pace that keeps readers engaged until the very end and you have a sure winner. Highly recommended.
Not Your Child is published by Wild Rose Press.
In addition to being a reviewer with over six hundred reviews to his credit, Jim Napier is the acclaimed author of Legacy and Ridley’s War, in the British-based Colin McDermott mystery series.