The Wrong Child – MJ Arlidge & Julia Crouch

When 3-month-old Max is abducted, his parents are plunged into their worst nightmare. Devastated mum Sarah only took her eyes off him for a second, but that doesn’t stop her guilt. Even husband Jake can’t hide his anger that their little boy went missing on her watch.

By contrast there are smiles and celebration at a caravan park in Lincolnshire, as baby Blaze is introduced to the Star family. Jenna and Gary are delighted with the new addition to their family. He is their fourth child and a real object of delight to their eldest – fifteen-year-old Willow – who once again will raise the child.

But trouble is brewing for the Star family. Willow is concerned by the desperate online appeals from Sarah and Jake, baby Max has neonatal diabetes and without regular treatment will die. As baby “Blaze” becomes seriously ill, Willow makes a shocking discovery. What is the truth about her family? And how far will they go to hide their deadly secret?

Book Info: Print length: 374 pages. Publisher: Orion. Publication Date: 30 May 2024

My Thoughts:

OOOOH, when I heard that MJ Arlidge has a new collaborative project with some of the best thriller writers around I knew I had to get involved and read them. It is my ABSOLUTE pleasure and honour to be arranging the blogtours for the “Crime Writers’ Room” and kick off the first book in this project which features another of my favourite authors HRH Julia Crouch (Queen of Domestic Noir).

I haven’t read many collaborative books so I don’t know how it works but I do know that I adore both writers and was intrigued to see what they could come up with together, after all two twisted heads are definitely better than one.

The Wrong Child starts by introducing the reader to Jenna Star. She’s a young and beautiful, free spirited traveller who lives with her 3 children, Willow, Tiger and Moon and her boyfriend Gaz moving from site to site in their caravan Nomad, never staying too long. Her children are the most important things in her life and she’s now ready for another baby to complete her family.

We then meet Sarah. She’s recently had her third child and is now a very harassed and stressed mother of 3 under 3. Her husband is the Deputy Head of a local school and despite promising to help out more at home, she’s almost at breaking point. To make matters worse, baby Max has recently been diagnosed with Neonatal diabetes and spends almost all day and night crying.

When baby Max gets abducted in the park whilst Sarah is distracted, everyone’s world is turned upside down. Both parents react very differently to the abduction. Sarah is understandably distraught, but her husband can’t help but blame her plus the police also suspect her of harming her baby.

I’m going to be honest here, after the first 2 chapters I really wasn’t sure about the storyline or the characters, but slowly the plot begins to unravel and the characters start to show their true colours and within a few more chapters I was absolutely hooked.

Each chapter of the book follows a different character so we gradually find out more about who they are and what part they play.

With two strong female main characters both determined to keep their family together at any cost, the tension and pace ensures the reader can’t put the book down.

The Wrong Child really is a rollercoaster of a ride. It’s absolutely full of twists and turns, characters you love and characters you will despise and I 100% recommend this to everyone who enjoys thrillers.

Rating: 5 out of 5.