book review · family · NetGalley · psychological suspense

Book Review – Picture of Innocence

Picture of Innocence

by T J Stimpson

My name is Lydia. I’m 12 years old. I’m not an evil person, but I did something bad.

My name is Maddie. I’d never hurt my son. But can I be sure if I don’t remember?

With three children under ten, Maddie is struggling. On the outside, she’s a happy young mother, running a charity as well as a household. But inside, she’s exhausted. She knows she’s lucky to have to have a support network around her. Not just her loving husband, but her family and friends too.

But is Maddie putting her trust in the right people? Because when tragedy strikes, she is certain someone has hurt her child – and everyone is a suspect, including Maddie herself…

The women in this book are about to discover that looks can be deceiving… because anyone is capable of terrible things. Even the most innocent, even you.

This is the story of every mother’s worst fear. But it’s not a story you know… and nothing is what it seems.

My Review

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books for providing this ARC

Wow! This book packs one heck of a punch.

There are two stories here that converge into the best mystery ever!

With a dark undertone, the story centres on Maddie and her three children, the youngest only a few weeks old. She’s struggling, and after a severe bout of depression following the birth of her second child, she now feels the same black mood descend upon her. Frequent blackouts and memory lapses make her question if she is going mad. Has the depression come back? All she knows for sure that she doesn’t want to go back on the meds again, but those around her (hubby Lucas and Mum Sarah) feel it’s the only way to get her through the next few weeks and months.

But when her new baby is found dead in his cot, the calls for Maddie to seek treatment grow louder. And with it comes her own paranoia. When she discovers that others have been lying to her, that paranoia takes a firmer grip. How will she cope? The police investigation into her son’s death only fuels the fire of her own uncertainty – was she to blame for his death?

As Maddie’s storyline develops, a second plot featuring eleven-year-old Lydia, a child killer, is introduced. This one spans many years, but it is the combination of the two stories that makes this such an addictive read. Lydia serves time as just punishment for her crime and is ultimately released back into society. This immediately had me making all sorts of assumptions, but the truth is worth waiting for.

This is a tense, thrilling, addictive read with so many twists and turns. I was questioning everything; suspects came and went as the story progressed. It was a real whodunnit, but with complex themes running alongside. It begs the question if you can really ever trust anyone completely – and if you can, should you?

A very cleverly-written story that will keep you turning the pages into the night.

Highly recommended to fans of compelling drama with a chilling psychological edge.

As always,

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