Keep Her Quiet by Emma Curtis

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Keep Her Quiet by Emma Curtis

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Many books are described as 'unputdownable': this one truly is. A man connives in the theft of a baby. It will effect his life for years to come in ways that he could never have expected. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 432 Date: August 2020
Publisher: Black Swan
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1784165253

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Jenny Creasey was excited when she went to the hospital to have her baby in March 1989: she had longed to have a child but she knew that the probability was that her husband, author Leo Creasey, wasn't the child's father. There'd been a one-night stand at a conference and guilty as she felt, she couldn't regret it. She'd done everything she could to support Leo and she'll continue to do so: it's her way of making silent amends. She's a high-earning accountant (it's her income which gives the family such a good lifestyle) and Leo has the sole use of her family cottage in rural Kent.

What Jenny didn't know was that Leo was aware that he couldn't be the father of the child. Unbeknownst to his wife he'd had a vasectomy some time ago. Having children was not on his agenda: Leo Creasey was a narcissist and everything had to be about him and to his benefit. On the night of Sophie's birth, Leo had an excuse to head off to the cottage and on the way he knocked down a young woman who was carrying her baby. He'd been drinking and couldn't go to the police. An ambulance couldn't be called. Nothing must mar the reputation of Leo Creasey.

Hannah Faulkner was the young woman. She was seventeen-years-old and she had given birth a couple of days earlier but when she'd woken up her baby, Zoe, was dead in bed beside her. It was when she dashed out into the street, carrying the baby, that she was hit by Leo's car. She'd been naive in entering into a sexual relationship with one of the elders of her church but being disowned by her family when they discovered she was pregnant had made her sharp and she blamed Leo for killing the child. Hannah's manipulative, too: Leo's admitted that his wife has just had a baby and that he doesn't want it. She persuades Leo to take her to the hospital where she will steal Sophie and Leo can dispose of Zoe's body. It's what both of them need, isn't it?

When I outline the plot, it doesn't seem plausible, but as Emma Curtis tells the story, you know that it couldn't have turned out any other way. The plotting is superb: every time I began to think that something just couldn't happen like that, I realised that not only could it, it would have to. Leo's a monster (and will become more of one as success comes his way) and whilst he's not entirely comfortable about the anguish he's caused his wife, he'll wish, nearly two decades later, that there was a statute of limitations on guilt and regret. That might sound callous until you know what he's done in the intervening years: then you'll know that it's monstrous. There's one person who could cause him problems: Leo wishes that they would quietly fade away without acknowledging that he is the person who is directly causing their death. It isn't his fault, you see: one second earlier or later on that road and none of this would have happened.

But what of his wife, you're probably wondering? Well, she's no doormat but she's never had that much confidence in herself and despite what her family might think of Leo (her sister doesn't like him at all) she's determined to make the marriage work, to see the benefits of her husband working at the cottage for three days a week. She's not overly trusting, but she has faith in Leo and all might have been well had it not been for the appeal for information about the Creasey's missing child on her sixteenth birthday and Jenny believing that she would have to sell Sparrow Cottage to fund her mother's care.

The queen of the unputdownable thriller it said on Amazon. Experience has taught that many such books are anything but. This time it's spot-on correct. I read with my heart in my mouth, unable to see how this could work out satisfactorily, but Curtis manages it and does it in style. It's realistic too: the denouement is satisfying but doesn't hide the fact that there are going to be problems for everyone involved. It's a cracker of a book and I'd like to thank the publishers for allowing Bookbag to have a review copy.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy Cry Baby by Mark Billingham.

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