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Her Missing Child

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Her Missing Child is a fantastic thriller that is well written. The characters are well developed and interesting.
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Another great read from Kerry Watts.  Her Missing Child is a brilliant thrilling, nerve wracking read and is, 2nd in the Detective Jessie Blake series. A missing child is every parents worst nightmare and this plot was gripping. but sensitively written. I raced through this book as I just had to know the outcome and what had happened to missing child, Finlay.. Written so well that many emotions were involved. Look forward to reading more from this author.
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Combine a good sprinkling of mystery, secrets, scandal, drama and lies and you end up with Her Missing Child by Kerry Watts.

Not having read the first book in this series - Heartlands - I had no real expectations beyond  the description outline. I am pleased to say that I found it completely intriguing and compelling!   

Darren and Claire Lucas are newly-weds with a six-month-old son Finlay. However, Claire is suffering from post natal depression and finds even the simplest tasks an effort. Returning home from work one day, Darren goes to see his son in his cot, but he discovers that Finlay has vanished. Detective Inspector Jessie Blake and her colleague DS Dylan Logan, are called to the scene, acutely aware that unless little Finlay is found, this case could end up being a traumatic investigation for all involved.

There was a fairly large number of characters to get to grips with but they all had a place and a role to play  and were important to the story. There was so much happening but with its short, snappy chapters and clear outline, it was a very easy story to follow. Cleverly crafted, the mystery deepened with every chapter and I didn’t know who to trust or what was going to happen next. I loved the untangling of all the secrets and lies in this delightful police procedural. 

Her Missing Child covered the difficult subject of mental health, adding dimension to the story and Kerry Watts handled this topic with thought and sensitivity. The book can be read as a standalone and the snippets into Jessie's past were just enough to keep me in the loop. Both Jessie and Dylan were both thoroughly likeable characters and I cannot wait to see what Kerry Watts has in store, next. The ending took me completely by surprise and I had not expected the story to conclude that way. 

I have no hesitation in recommending Her Missing Child to fans of the genre. 

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Bookouture via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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This book is about a 6 month old baby who goes missing while at home with his mummy.
There are plenty of people who could have taken young Finley . You think it’s one person then you change your mind.
It is up to D.I Jessie Blake and her partner D.S Dylan Logan to solve this case.
Really enjoyed this book.
Thanks NetGalley
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Kerry Watts delivers a gripping, emotionally intense, page-turning crime thriller in Her Missing Child.

Darren Lucas returns home from work, and from somewhere he shouldn’t have been. He finds his wife Claire slumped asleep on the couch, the house a total mess. Darren is sick with fear and racked by guilt when he looks in on his baby boy Finlay and finds his crib empty.

Detective Jesse Blake is called in to investigate the missing boy. Suspicion shrouds the Lucas family as Jesse and her team begin the gruesome task of solving the case. Despite battling her own painful past, Jesse is determined to find out the truth.

Silent family secrets are revealed. Layers of privacy are peeled away. Everything and everyone exposed.

Watts weaves a clever connection between characters, story lines and the many plot twists, as well as doing an admirable job of dealing with some very tough emotional issues; mental health, post-partum depression, grief.  

It is almost impossible to put Her Missing Child down until you have finished it. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the read of Kerry Watts’, Her Missing Child.

Opinions expressed in my reviews are my own.
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Something happening to your child is a universal fear for parents and perhaps particularly new ones whose children are so young and vulnerable. The moment in Her Missing Child when Darren discovers his son, Finlay is a scene which made my blood run cold and tears filled my eyes. Darren's terror is poignantly juxtaposed with his wife, Claire's apparent indifference. It's made clear very early on that Claire has been suffering from postnatal depression since the birth of Finlay which adds another layer of emotion to what is a heartbreaking mystery.
Before Finlay's disappearance is discovered there are a couple of other scenes which introduce two key characters in the book behaving strangely. It's impossible to work out if their actions are suspect or not and this is one of the features that works so well in Her Missing Child. Throughout the book, Kerry Watts continues to include moments which trigger elements of doubt about several of the characters, all of whom are flawed or damaged individuals. Claire's fragile mind means she begins to question her own involvement and meanwhile, Darren has his guilty secrets too. Their neighbours, Dianne and Colin Davidson have been hugely supportive to the young couple but did Dianne become too close to little Finlay as a result of her own tragic loss? Claire and Darren's families are naturally distraught but their pasts could also be significant, especially when a blackmail note comes to light which suggests the McCabe family who own the local garage have a reason for seeking revenge.
It's left to DI Jessie Blake and DC Dylan Logan to try to unravel exactly what happened to the little boy but it's an agonising investigation for them both. Dylan's wife is pregnant with their second child and Jessie's own personal tragedy means this is a particularly difficult case for her. Her Missing Child is the second novel to feature Jessie and Dylan but the first I have read. I feel it can easily be read as a standalone but there are a few mentions of incidences in the past and I'm not sure whether they will be known to readers of the previous book, Heartlands or part of a storyline which will gradually reveal more about Jessie's history as the series progresses. It certainly didn't affect my enjoyment of the story at all but as always with an ongoing series, I'm sure it's helpful to read all the books to gain a true understanding of a character's development.
I don't want to give too much away about the mystery itself suffice to say that I loved how my suspicions were led first in one direction and then in another as I attempted to form my own conclusions as to the truth. Kerry Watts skilfully manipulated my perceptions throughout so that by the end I think I'd been convinced of almost all the characters' guilt at one point or another. She also deals with some emotive subjects with great empathy and as much as this is a gripping investigation, it is also a really touching look at loss and guilt. The characterisation throughout is superb, both in regards to the potential suspects and the investigating officers. The introduction of PC Isla Wilde works especially well and I'm really looking forward to seeing how this perceptive, ambitious young woman develops as the series continues.
Her Missing Child is a compelling mystery with real heart; it surprised me several times and made me ache with sadness. The small town setting engenders a sense of claustrophobia where everybody knows each other and as the finger of doubt is pointed, angry repercussions are inevitable. Indeed, this leads to a second investigation which may be connected to the first and adds another layer of intrigue to the story. This may have been my first book by Kerry Watts but it definitely won't be my last - especially with such a sinister conclusion...!
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Thank you NetGalley for the Kindle Arc of "Her Missing Child"!!! I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to read this. This ticked off all of the things that I love in a good mystery. It was fast paced & attention grabbing. There were some loveable & some not so loveable characters, & my all time favorite PLOT TWISTS. This novel included a lot of things that that people go through like postpartum depression & mental illness. There were other dynamics to the story which I wont divulge because I don't want to ruin the shock value, or the mystery element. I look forward to reading more from this author soon. Great job Mrs. Watts!!!
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Claire is struggling after the birth of her baby son. All she wants to do is sleep. When Darren comes home from work, as usual he finds Claire snoozing on the couch. He goes to cuddle his son & finds his cot empty- any parent's worst nightmare. DI Jessie Blake is called to investigate & before long it is clear all is not as it seems.

This is the second in the series. I wasn't wild about the first one, but I thought the series had promise. I'm glad I stuck with it because I found this one much more satisfying. I did still find that there was rather an overload of characters to keep track of. This was a good read & I'm already looking forward to Book 3! Thanks to Netgalley & the publishers for letting me read & review this book.
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Her Missing Child is book two in the Detective Jessie Blake series, best read in order but works well as a standalone. This story is so much more than finding a missing baby and solving the case, it turns dark, deadly and personal.

Thrilling, gripping and shocking are just a few words that best describe this story. It contains short chapters and is fast paced… I enjoyed this one. The team works so well together and they all have a brilliant relationship with each other. A happy-ish ending which will hopefully continue in book three. Believe noone, suspect everyone…

I’ve enjoyed both books in this series so far, so I highly recommend. Another four stars from me. I look forward to book three.
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Her Missing Child by Kerry Watts Is the second book in the Detective Jessie Blake series and I have just loved these books. I was hooked within the first few pages just like the first book in this series which was called "Heartlands". 
Claire Lucas lays her baby son Finlay down in his cot for a nap in his nursery and went downstairs for a rest her self. Claire is a struggling with post anti-depression and finding it hard to cope being a new mother. Her husband Darren comes home and checks on his son.......He then wakes Claire up from her nap and asks where Finlay is as he is not in his cot! Claire informs Darren he is asleep in his cot. Their Son is nowhere to be found within their home. 

How can a baby disappear from his cot? 

Could Claire not have heard them come in to their home and take their son? 

How could anyone know when the baby was in the cot? 

Could someone have taken him? 

Why would they take him? He has two parents who love and care for him? 

Could someone have hurt Finlay? 

What a great book this is turning into............

Detective Jessie Blake and Constable Dylan Logan are called to the house and search parties are lout searching for Finlay.

Are they going to find him in time?

Who has taken him? and Why?

Is Claire hiding something? If so what is she hiding?

The family are looked at, as well as extended family, all their friends and their neighbours. There are lots of suspects, with lots of secrets and lies, as quick as one person is ruled out another is ruled in.

Great characters within this book and I love  Jess and Dylan characters from the start of this brilliant series.

I'm looking forward to the next book from Kerry Watts

Thanks to publisher Bookouture and NetGalley for providing a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest review.
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WOW! When I read "Heartlands" , the first novel in the Jessie Blake series by Kerry Watts, I knew that the next book would be even better but WOW! I gave the first one 5 how can I top that? Because HER MISSING CHILD (previously titled SAFE HOME) is even better than the first!

Darren and Claire Lucas are newly married with a 6 month old son Finlay. However Claire is suffering from post natal depression and finds even the simplest tasks an effort, spending most of her time either crying or sleeping. When Darren returns home from work and sees Claire sleeping on the couch, he decides to go say hello to his little man whose smile brightens up his day. But when he reaches into Finlay's cot, he discovers his son is gone. Vanished. Without a trace.

Panicking, he calls out to Claire, rousing her from her sleep and asking her where's Finlay. But Claire hasn't seen him since she put him down for his nap some hours ago. Distraught, Claire runs to her neighbours who have been a godsend helping Claire out since Finlay's birth, wondering if they have him. But they haven't seen him either. So where could Finlay be?

In the depths of winter, the Scottish weather is bitterly cold with pelting rain and thick snow. So worryingly, if Finlay is somehow out in this weather, he would most certainly not survive the cold.

Detective Inspector Jessie Blake and her partner DS Dylan Logan are called to the scene, acutely aware that unless little Finlay is found this case could end up a traumatic investigation for all involved. But no one could anticipate just how complicated this case would become.

Jessie, more than anyone, knows the pain of losing a child and Finlay's disappearance re-opens old wounds she had long since buried. Added to that, her ex-husband Dan has been messaging her, intent on a reconciliation claiming he has changed. But just a couple of minutes in his presence brings all her old fears back to the surface, undoing years of therapy. When her cat Smokey disappears, I started to envision all sorts of horrible ends for Jessie's closest companion at the hands of her abusive ex. But rest assured, Smokey is fine. *whew*

But is Finlay fine? Can Jessie and Dylan find the baby before it's too late? Just what is Claire's mother hiding? Can the detectives get the priest Father Murray to reveal her secret? And where was Darren really when Finlay went missing? And Claire's sister Theresa, who was seen traipsing through the snow nearby...does she have something to do with Finlay's disappearance?

There is so much happening in HER MISSING CHILD but with its short snappy chapters and clear outline, it was very easy to follow. Unlike a few other books where I have on occasion confused the odd character, there was none of that here. Everyone had a part to play, some small and some major, but each on their own were important to the story and the direction of the investigation. But which one of them is guilty?

I love the untangling of all the secrets and lies that are always feature highly in psychological thrillers and procedurals, and this one is no different. From the reader's perspective we see some secrets but not all, and we watch with baited breath as each of them come to light and unravel before our eyes. And at the risk of sounding slightly unhinged, I'm a real sucker for missing child thrillers and investigations.

HER MISSING CHILD deals with two mental health conditions - post natal depression and bipolar disorder - and Kerry Watts deals with both topics with thought and sensitivity. Although this isn't the first "mother-with-post-natal-depression" story I've read, I think it's the first with bipolar and it added a different dimension to the story. We are left to ponder if that plays a part in the investigation, whilst sympathising at the same time.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series but this one is so much more. I have loved Jessie and Dylan from the starts but here they really come into their own. I have enjoyed watching their characters develop as we get further glimpses into their backstories. Where "Heartlands" finished off with Dan watching her flat in the shadows of the night, HER MISSING CHILD ends with even more promise of what's to come. And I can't wait for the third installment in this series to see where it takes us. The tension surrounding Jessie's ex, Dan, is palpable and you just know that's not going to end well as we await the explosion that is sure to come.

Despite being the second in the series, HER MISSING CHILD can be read as a standalone, with snippets into Jessie's past enough to keep you in the loop.

HER MISSING CHILD is everything you could want in a police procedural and more. It has heart and sensitivity, and both Jessie and Dylan are thoroughly likable. I cannot wait to see what Kerry Watts has in store for us next!

Highly recommended.

I would like to thank #KerryWatts, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #HerMissingChild in exchange for an honest review.
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From the title, it's clear that this book will deal with some difficult subjects; a missing child being one of the most difficult things a parent will ever have to deal with. There are some cleverly-drawn suspects including the mother, who is suffering from post-natal depression, her sister who is bipolar, the neighbour who is still grieving the loss of her own child, amongst others.
The mental health issues are portrayed sympathetically although it seems just about every character is suffering from some kind of problem. Just to balance this out, there are threats to the baby's grandfather from the family of a girl he killed in a drunken accident. All this ramps up the psychological tension and certainly kept me turning the pages.
If you then add in the reappearance of the investigating officer's ex-husband then this is a complex, multi-layered psychological thriller.
I enjoyed the plot and the character development. The ending does manage to come as a surprise and the reader is left thinking any one of the suspects could have done it right to the very end.
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What’s it about:  This book is the second book in the Detective Jessie Blake series. I didn't read the first book and had no issues following the plot since each book chronicles a different crime.

This book has a typical plotline in thriller books, a missing baby! A father comes home after work, and the baby is missing. Is it the shady neighbor? The criminal father in law? Or any one of the other characters in this book?

What I liked about this book: This book was gripping from the very beginning. The characters were great, and they all have secrets. The Detective, Jessie Blake, is likable. 

What I disliked: I don't like the book cover. It doesn't represent the story well and doesn't match the quality of the story-telling. But as they say, don't judge a book by its cover!

Overall impression: This is a fast-paced thriller, and I recommend it!  4 out of 5.  

Special thanks to Net Galley for providing advance review copies in exchange for my honest review.
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What I adore and love about Kerry’s books is the fact she throws so many characters at you, each with their own chapter and weaves a plot that you just couldn’t guess! So many red herrings, so many moments questioning what is in front of you and most importantly a bloody page-turner that is relentless. By introducing this small pool of characters each with their own chapter and subchapter just encourages you to keep flicking the pages, because just as something happens the point of view changes, making you eager to find out what is going but by no means breaking the flow of the story.

Her Missing Child is absolutely heartbreaking and I am glad that the main drive of this story is the characters. Like her previous book Heartlands, the characters drive and push this story to where it needs to go. We are led by them, each one prominent when they need to and fade in the background too only to appear when they need to.

I do love this series with Jessie Blake, I love her partnership with Dylan, and I feel we are slowly beginning to see more of her past and I have a feeling this will play a huge part in future books. It was a welcome addition to include Isla Wilde to the team of two, she was refreshing and she took everything in her stead, even though she was completely nervous about it. I hope she does move over to CID!!!

In Her Missing Child, ALL the characters are flawed and reckless, we unpick each of their lives, the pain, heartbreaks and anger resonate off the pages. So many mistakes have been made and it just takes that one tragedy to set off the Butterfly effect…I am pretty sure I said this last time with Heartlands. I think it’s safe to say that Watts has a formula that works fantastic for her, and I love it as a reader. I love the introduction to a pool of characters, I love that they have their own voice and their own story and we get to see and hear that although sometimes we just scratch the surface. This style of writing excites me and makes me want to find all the excuses in the world to not have to socialise and just sit and read all day! Although mini-me doesn’t make that easy!

With an ominous ending and no resolutions on some of the threads in this tightly woven plot, I have a feeling we may see more of some mysterious and not so mysterious characters in a future storyline…well, I hope so! I really can’t wait to see what the future holds for Jessie Blake, please just let there be some sunshine for her!!!
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On a cold winter day, Claire Lucas is woken by her frantic husband asking where their baby son is. When she follows him into the baby's room, they find his cot empty. Their son is nowhere to be found. Detective Jessie Blake and her team are called in to investigate the disappearance of a six-month-old baby boy. When she gets there, she can't shake the feeling that something is seriously off with the family. As she dives deeper into the investigation, she uncovers a web of dark secrets. This is a complex, fast-paced thriller centered on a terrible family tragedy. It's an emotional story that deals with some very heavy topics.  The writing style flows smoothly and the characters were well developed and felt realistic. Detective Jessie Blake and PC Isla Wilde were my favourite characters, they were both strong, intelligent women, and I rooted for them throughout the entire book. The mystery kept me in suspense, and there were some really great twists along the way. The conclusion was satisfying but slightly predictable. The chapters are very short, making this a quick, easy read. I am looking forward to the third book and can't wait to see what the author has in store for Detective Blake and her team. Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is the second book to feature Detective Jessie Blake, but I found it easy to read as a stand-alone.

Baby Finlay has disappeared. Who could have taken him ?

Jessie and her partner Dylan are tasked with leading the investigation, in what could be a heartbreaking case. 

With many characters, this has an intensity that fits with the fraught plot. It covers the many emotions of those affected by a missing child and mental health issues in such a compassionate way too. 

While spending all her time on this case, Jessie is also having to deal with an abusive ex, adding to the tension.

A clever plot, full of emotions and tension, in a solid police procedural. A thoughtful and gripping read.

Thank you to Bookouture p, the author and NetGalley for a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.
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Her Missing Child by Kerry Watts is a fast paced thriller.  It's my first read by Ms. Watts, and I was not left disappointed!  I'm definitely adding her on my authors to follow list, and I need to go back and read the first DI Blake book, Heartlands.  Even though this is book 2, I had no issues with picking up this one without the history needed for many series.  

Claire is a new mother, suffering from postpartum depression.  Luckily for her she has her new neighbors, Dianne and Colin, who help her through the day, while her husband, Darren is at work. Dianne's help with baby Finlay has been a godsend to her own recovery over the death of her daughter, Stacey, just a year prior from cot-death (SIDS).

Then one day, Darren comes home from work to find Claire asleep, and baby Finlay missing.  Enter Detective Jessica Blake and Constable Dylan Logan, who must look into each suspect, their actions and pasts in order to figure out what happened to Finlay.

This book is great for anyone who enjoys police detectives, family drama, and suspense.   

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
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Thank you to Bookouture for my copy of this book and for letting me take part in this blog tour. I enjoyed the first book in this series, Heartlands so I was looking forward to catching up with Detective Jessie Blake. If you haven't read the first book you can still read this as a standalone. 

After baby Finlay goes missing there are suspects galore. Every time I thought I had it all worked out, there would be a new spanner in the works that threw me.  There were many twists and turns in this book and you will be constantly surprised.

This book is so much more than just a police procedural. We also explore post-natal depression, bipolar and other mental illnesses. 

What I really enjoyed about this book was the background on Detective Blake. Her past was hinted at in the first book but we learnt a lot more in this book and I feel we are building up to a lot more in the next book
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Terrific suspense!  Loved it!😍 Jessie Blake, please Carry On!
👍👍Fast-paced and fascinating as it draws a dozen or so characters into the investigation of a missing infant, I really loved the writing style and the plot.

At first I was afraid that, with the introduction of a new set of characters every chapter, I was not going to be able to keep track of them all.  But, happily, I had no trouble following each of their distinct yet interwoven stories.  So many red herrings and twists, including the complications surrounding motive and method, not only in little Finlay's tragic case, but also in the introduction of a second, more grisly crime later in the book.  And heroine DI Jessie Blake with her history of a violent marriage and lost child, displays her sympathetic, human side even while dealing with some pretty nasty, violent and disturbed suspects.  So many secrets and expose, all while dealing with her ex who won't move on and the grief over her son's passing that the case exacerbates.

This was the first work by Kerry Watts that I've read but I look forward to seeing more in this series.  Definitely recommended.

Thanks to publisher Bookouture and NetGalley for providing a complimentary advance copy of the book;  this is my voluntary and honest review.
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The book is described as "Unputdownable" and naturally that peaked my interest especially in a crime fiction novel. I breezed through this in 2 days!

Thank you to #netgalley and #bookouture for the advanced e-copy of this novel for my honest review.

Tiny Synopsis:  Claire and her husband, Darren, are faced with a parent's worst nightmare: their 6-month old baby is missing. He was just in his crib and next - gone without a trace. Detective Jessie Blake is on the case investigating the peculiar circumstances of the case and the many possible suspects:  Claire's overly doting neighbors, the parents, the best friend, and other former family grudges/enemies.

My Review:  3 / 5 stars

The novel is suspenseful and you are kept on the edge of your seat wondering who the killer or kidnapper is. I never read the first novel, but you don't need to in order to catch up with the series. I felt the many different suspects made it very interesting, but it seems like a story I've read many times. The ending was predictable and I was actually hoping for another twist.... It was an entertaining fast read, but I did not LOVE it.
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