How could such a thing happen?
But it did happen.
I wasn’t one of the others, observing.
It happened to me.
One hot summer’s day, two-year-old Jessica Preston disappears from the beach. The police are convinced she drowned, but Sandra Preston won’t give up hope that her daughter is still alive.
How can she?
Twenty years later, another child goes missing, and Sandra is approached by a young journalist who raises questions about what really happened to Jessica Preston all those years ago. But when the journalist discovers someone with an explosive secret, it threatens not only to reveal what’s been covered up for so long, but puts both their lives in danger.
Child Taken is the debut novel from Darren Young, and I’m pleased to report it’s a hell of a debut, it’s twisted and definitely makes for an intriguing read. As the book suggests two year old Jessica Preston disappears on a day out with her family. Twenty years later another missing child gets the attention of trainee journalist Laura Grainger, which leads to questions about what really happened to Jessica Preston? What follows is an intricate tale shrouded in mystery and deception.
There are have been numerous books that deal with this theme, but what sets this book apart was the authors decision not to concentrate on one particular character, he deftly explores the long term impact on everyone involved, after all each character involved lost something when Jessica was taken. At first I found the style of narrative confusing to follow as the story is told from four POV, but once I got into the swing things I realised just how cleverly woven the narrative is as it follows the journey past and present of the abductors and the family whose child was taken.
The author presents the reader with a tangled and intriguing tale which draws the reader in from the very first chapter. As a parent myself I found my sympathies lay very much with Jessica’s mother, as the author describes her thoughts and feelings at loosing a child with conviction and empathy. As for the abductors I couldn’t raise an iota of sympathy for their predicament, but to see why I felt like this you will just have to read the book for yourself, as in explaining my reasons I may give away major spoilers which is never my attention. I had one small niggle with Child Taken I did feel this book could have been shorter, as at times it felt the author was padding out the story and wasn’t really relevant to the plot.
I really thought I had Child Taken figured out around the halfway mark, but OMG Darren Young deviously leads the reader a merry dance, and I can honestly say I never thought for one minute the novel would end the way it did. This is a dark, twisting thriller that shows all too well how you can never escape the sins of your past. Child Taken is a terrific, gripping, page-turning debut by a talented new voice in suspense. A great read that I would highly recommend.
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: RedDoor Publishing (18 May 2017) Amazon UK 🇬🇧
Darren Young lives in Nottingham with his wife, Luisa and their two children, Alessio and Emilia.
Away from writing, he has a background in financial services and an MBA from the University of Wolverhampton and helps organisations to improve their customer service, whilst also being involved in producing papers and a weekly blog on the subject. He wanted to write something different; a story he’d like to read, one about ordinary people thrown into extraordinary positions and had the ideas but wasn’t sure that there was enough time, or coffee, to fit it into his already busy life. However, he started working on Child Taken in 2014 and found that there was. He’s currently working on a new version of the book he wrote for ‘practice’ before embarking on Child Taken and after two years writing about child abduction, he wanted to explore something a little lighter; heart transplants.
Follow Darren on Twitter @darrenyoungbook
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