Blog tour day! Happy release day to this new thriller.
Thanks to Berkley Pub for the free copy in exchange for my honest review
THE PERFECT SON – Lauren North (out today!)
A disturbing and shocking debut novel of psychological suspense about a recently widowed mother, her young son, and the lengths she’ll go to in order to keep him safe.
When Tess Clarke wakes up in the hospital the day after her son Jamie’s eighth birthday, she’s sure of these things: She’s been stabbed, her son is missing, her brother-in-law and her grief counselor are involved. But no one is listening to her.
After her husband, Mark, died suddenly in a terrible accident a few months earlier, the only thing keeping Tess together is Jamie. As they struggle to make sense of their new life without Mark, they find joy in brief moments of normalcy like walking to school and watching television together. Life is hard without Mark, but Tess has Jamie, and that’s what matters.
But there in the hospital, confused and surrounded by people who won’t listen, Tess’s world falls apart. To save her son, she must piece together what happened between Mark’s death and Jamie’s birthday, but the truth might just be too much for her to bear.
Check out the #ATBR2019 thoughts below!
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
Before starting THE PERFECT SON by Lauren North, I had seen a few things from other reviewers about how the ending twist was one they didn’t see coming. So I was really excited to start and see what the author would throw at us. This was a debut from Lauren North and I’ve been so impressed with all these thriller debut authors this year, and she was no exception!
We start out with Tess waking up in a hospital bed. She has stab wounds and the police are trying to get to the bottom of what happened. The biggest concern? Jamie, her (now) 8 year old son, Jamie, is missing. Tess will do anything and everything she has to in order to find him.
When her husband dies in a terrible accident, Tess and Jaime’s lives are turned upside down. Together they try to navigate their grief and try and rebuild their lives without Mark. The only thing keeping Tess going is her son Jamie, as long as she has him then she can try to find some normalcy again. They are recommended to a grief counselor, Shelley, and she quickly becomes a friend and someone that Tess can turn to. She soon becomes suspicious of Shelley’s motives when she notices how close she and her son are becoming.
Tess begins to question everyone around her and their motives. Why are her brother-in-law and grief counselor getting so close? Are they trying to work against her? Are they trying to take Jamie away from her? So many questions and North takes us on quite the roller coaster ride. This is told in two timelines – the countdown to Jamie’s 8th birthday and the present-day events after her stabbing and Jamie going missing. The author slowly connects the dots for us and there some twists and turns. I can see some frequent readers of the psychological thriller genre guessing some early on, but that doesn’t take away from the reading experience! I would definitely recommend this one and can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.
Chandra’s Thoughts: 3.5/5 stars
Real talk – in the first 100 pages, I thought about putting this book down several times. Being in Tess’s head is BRUTAL. I can’t imagine what it’s like to lose a husband but the author gives Tess’s feelings in her aftermath a VOICE… and it’s almost hurtful to hear it. The decisions she makes. The decisions she WON’T make. And I’m very glad I stuck with it as it all makes sense when you get towards the end. Is she crazy? Is she making YOU crazy? Ok, maybe she’s not so crazy after all!
I understand why the author stated in the acknowledgments (have I reiterated enough how everyone should always read these?) that this took her emotions and left her exhausted. This isn’t a fun subject matter to be writing about. The aftermath of Tess’s husband’s unexpected death. The months after leading up to her son’s disappearance. The author takes us on a journey leading up to the disappearance, and glimpses into the present day through interviews and statements. Grief is no joke, y’all… and you never know how you are going to deal with your emotions until you have to go through it.
I hit a point in the book where I got REALLY interested – well hello there you big old red herring – should I take a bite? But no… it can’t be THAT obvious.. can it? And if it is… then what else will show itself?! If anything? This is my brain sometimes reading thrillers, fyi. While what I originally thought didn’t pan out, I did see the major alert before the bell rang. I think most avid readers of thrillers probably will. But here’s what the thing is with this book. It’s not so much about any big twist, or to keep you guessing to the end – it’s really a story about grief, sadness, loss, feelings, friends and family.