Review: Can Anybody Help Me? by Sinéad Crowley (5/5)

Wednesday 30 April 2014
It was crazy really, she had never met the woman, had no idea of her real name but she thought of her as a friend. Or, at least, the closest thing she had to a friend in Dublin.

Struggling with a new baby, Yvonne turns to netmammy, an online forum for mothers, for support. Drawn into a world of new friends, she spends increasing amounts of time online and volunteers more and more information about herself.

When one of her new friends goes offline, Yvonne thinks something is wrong, but dismisses her fears. After all, does she really know this woman?

But when the body of a young woman with striking similarities to Yvonne’s missing friend is found, Yvonne realises that they’re all in terrifying danger. Can she persuade Sergeant Claire Boyle, herself about to go on maternity leave, to take her fears seriously?

I was really excited to read this book after reading the blurb, it definitely sounded like a book I would enjoy reading. So I was ecstatic when I (eventually!) got a copy from Net Galley and I couldn't wait to start reading. This is about the fifth book I've read this year from an Irish author and I have to say I am loving the change of scenery. I've been planning a trip to Belfast and Dublin and even though the books I've read set there have been crime, thrillers etc it's still getting me excited to go. I also recently finished Samantha Hayes - Before You Die so have been searching for books similar to that and this certainly fits the bill. 

The book opens with Claire, one of our main characters at a baby scan with her husband Matt. They appear to be quite distant with one another and Claire's mind seems to be elsewhere, we later find out she is a police officer concerned about the verdict of one of her cases at court. We are also introduced to Yvonne who is concerned that a missing woman on the news is one of her 'friends' from the parenting forum Net Mammy. Yvonne's concerns are dismissed by her family and also by the police, who are more concerned with locating the woman rather than entertaining Yvonne's fears. We also read about somebody who is being held captive. There are also chapters which are chats on the Net Mammy website which sort of give out clues as to what's happening in the story, not saying too much but for example one user asking another for their address (could Yvonne's theory be true?). I especially liked the way this book was written with the extracts from the website. There was a bit of comedy thrown in with some of the comments from the more extreme mothers.

As always it's hard to speak about a story further than what the blurb tells you as books like these are about discovering the story for yourself and unraveling the mystery as you go. In terms of characters however I especially liked Claire, she appears to have a bit of history/baggage from her earlier years which is explored in the book. In terms of the story it was a very enjoyable, and at times gripping read. After the first few introductory chapters I felt the story slowed down a bit, but after about 50% or so it definitely picked up and I finished the rest of it in one sitting as I couldn't wait to see how the story would end. I was definitely kept guessing and was gripped until the very last page. The whole story from start to finish just felt so believable and realistic it wasn't hard to imagine it happening. People today are all too quick to give out information about themselves online, on my Facebook alone I could look at certain friends and know where they are at most times of the day. It's certainly pretty creepy.

Overall I highly reccommend this book. I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye out for more from this author and hope this book is a massive success as it really is a fantastic read. 

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

You can buy this book on Kindle NOW or in paperback on May 8th! 

Also follow the author on Twitter 

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