Today I am delighted to be joining the blog blitz for The Babysitter, the new release from Sheryl Browne. My thanks to Kim Nash and publisher Bookouture for inviting me to be a part of the blitz and for providing an advance copy of the book for review. I’ll share my thoughts on it just as soon as we’ve taken a look at what it’s all about.
About the Book
You trust her with your family. Would you trust her with your life?
Mark and Melissa Cain are thrilled to have found Jade, a babysitter who is brilliant with their young children. Having seen her own house burn to the ground, Jade needs them as much as they need her. Moving Jade into the family home can only be a good thing, can’t it?
As Mark works long hours as a police officer and Melissa struggles with running a business, the family become ever more reliant on their babysitter, who is only too happy to help. And as Melissa begins to slip into depression, it’s Jade who is left picking up the pieces.
But Mark soon notices things aren’t quite as they seem. Things at home feel wrong, and as Mark begins to investigate their seemingly perfect sitter, what he discovers shocks him to his core. He’s met Jade before. And now he suspects he might know what she wants …
Mark is in a race against time to protect his family. But what will he find as he goes back to his family home?
If you loved reading The Girl on the Train, Behind Closed Doors and The Sister, you’ll love the suspense of The Babysitter. This unputdownable read will have you turning the pages until way after dark.
I do love to read a good psychological thriller and the premise of this new book sounded right up my alley. The opening scenes are very dramatic, a fire burning on a house as a young child looks on in fear. We meet a man who is set to become one of the central characters, Mark Cain, who is called to the scene of the fire to investigate. The scenes here are shocking, the images they leave in your mind not pleasant. It is not gratuitous in its telling, but the facts of the story are very stark and very sad.
Fast forward a few years and Mark is faced with another fire, this time at the home of his next door neighbour, Jade. Mark and his wife Melissa are parents to a new baby, and Melissa is glad to provide shelter to Jade in exchange for help with looking after the children while she returns to work. But all is not as it seems and what seems to be the answer to their prayers, could turn out to be their worst nightmare.
Now I will be honest, I had guessed very quickly where this story was heading and it didn’t surprise me when certain events started to take place. The story is told from varying points of view, mainly Mark, Melissa and Jade, and all bring a new element to the plot and a very different perspective. Melissa has been crafted well, developed as someone suffering from depression and struggling to cope with life. As the story progresses she begins to doubt herself and the things which happen to her do add an element of tension to the story as you wonder just how far things will go before they come to a head.
Mark is an interesting character. I did find myself drawn to him very quickly. He has a giving nature but is also quick to temper, especially where one of his colleagues is concerned as he has pride in his career in the Police Service and seeing anyone abuse that is hard for him. However, his commitment to the job, and especially investigating the disappearance of a young girl, do lead to him missing the blindingly obvious at home. His stress levels are high but his love for Melissa and his children is never in doubt.
Jade … where to begin with Jade? To be fair she is a hard character to discuss without giving away too much. She has a difficult past for sure, and as her voice takes over the narrative you quickly get the measure of her as a person. Whether you like her or not … well you’ll have to decide for yourselves. They say don’t look a gift horse in the mouth but also beware the cuckoo in the nest. Read into that what you will.
A good proportion of the book is spent in setting up the story and I do feel here this could have been pulled in a little to bring the pacing up just a notch. That said, when the action gets going it really gets going and the feeling of jeopardy, the angst which is felt by the characters, leaps from the page. Mark’s career is hanging in the balance, his family’s life at stake and he has no idea from who or why. And there are one or two ewwww moments too, one especially that might have you looking sideways at your Danepak in a morning.
All in all a really good and intriguing read and my first from Sheryl Browne. I look forward to reading more from the author in the future.
The Babysitter is available now from the following retailers:
About the Author
So why does Sheryl write in two genres? Quoting E. L. Doctorow, Sheryl says: “Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights…” This she thinks sums up a writer’s journey, you never quite know where you are going until you get there. You might start with an outline, but a strong character will always divert from the plot. If Sheryl’s not sure where a character is going, she simply has to trust him to show her the way. Plus, according to one reviewer, she also has a scary insight into the mind of a psychopath.