The first thing that frew me to Hush Little Baby was the cover. It evokes the lullaby-quality of the title, but with the dark colours there is also that sense fo threat. Hush Little Baby gives the reader some of the best staples of the suspense genre, family strife and tragic pasts, but occasionally fails the landing. Thanks to Aria and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Pub. Date: 23/7/2020
Many detective and suspense novels are part of a series, which can be half of the fun. As the reader, you become fond of the set cast of detectives and follow their arcs across the series. I imagine that the continuation also gives the author a baseline by which to start and organize every installment. However, the requirement for successful detective series, in my opinion, is that every story can be a standalone, that the series narrative doesn't stand in the way of developing each individual plot. In Hush Little Baby this is largely successful until the end where the events of previous books take over to such an extent that I, having not read them, did feel a bit lost.
In Hush Little Baby a young teenager is shocked to find a tiny hand emerging from a cement block. This leads to the discovery of the body of little Alicia, who was kidnapped fifteen years earlier. Her disappearance tore her family apart and was a bit of a national scandal. At the time, the culprit got away with it, but now DC Beth Chamberlain is on the case. As the Family Liaison Officer, she is right there with the family, having to open up old wounds and pry into their affairs. The perspective of an FLO is very interesting as it gives us all the delicious twists and turns of families hiding things from each other and the police. I do have to say I wasn't entirely pleased with the resolution to the disappearance of Alicia, but that could be due to the fact that the novel then continued on into, seemingly, resolving a story line from the previous books. It was an odd shift and kind of took away the emotional gravitas of the main plot.
This was my first book by Jane Isaac and I did very much enjoy her characterization of Beth Chamberlain. She is a very empathetic main character who is balancing a relationship with family troubles and a challenging case. A lot of time is spent building up what the consequences of the crime were for the family. As time has passed, certain wounds have healed, while others are still very much open. Quite a few family secrets are revealed, yet not all of them hit equally for me. A few twists are quite shocking but happen later on in the story when there isn't a lot of time left to wrap up the main plot. Overall, Hush Little Baby did have me gripped and I was eager to get to the resolution. However, I would give the advice to read the other two books in the DC Beth Chamverlain series before going into Hush Little Baby to get the full experience, as I did feel like I missed out on some of the enjoyment.
I give this novel...
I enjoyed Hush Little Baby but found myself occasionally disappointed by the twists as well as by the ending. I would recommend reading the overall series, however, as this would make for a better reading experience.