Cover Image: Playdate


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Member Reviews

3.5 Stars! Suspenseful, unsettling, and interesting!

PLAYDATE by ALEX DAHL is available on July 9, 2020!

Norma’s Stats:
Cover: An intriguing, ominous, dark, woeful, and fitting representation to storyline.
Title: I love the apprehensive and edgy feel that this title immediately gave me which definitely enticed me in wanting and needing to read this book. You just know that something horrific is going to happen on a Playdate and gives you that intense feeling of having to know what exactly.
Writing/Prose: Classic atmospheric Nordic Noir suspense that was well-written, steadily-paced, easy to follow and readable.
Plot: Intense, edgy, suspenseful, distressing, emotional and entertaining.
Ending: A fast-paced, intense, open-ended, and bittersweet ending with an epilogue that I found to be a little unsatisfying and slightly problematic.
Overall: This was a very good and twisty thriller that had some likeable and unlikeable characters. I thought each of the characters perspectives were interesting and compelling but definitely had me questioning some of their motives though. Would recommend it!

This book had quite the hook with a premise that immediately grabbed my attention but the middle part stalled a bit for me and I found myself wanting to skim to the end. Once I reached somewhere around the 80% mark then the pacing totally picked up for me again.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for providing me with an eARC.
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4.5 stars

Well, this is how you do Nordic Noir. Elisa Blix makes a huge mistake. She allows her seven year old daughter Lucia to go on a playdate and sleepover with Josephine, no big deal you’d think. Except Elisa has literally just met mother Line but after pleading from both little girls she relents and allows it. By the following day Lucia, Josephine and Line vanish and what unfolds becomes a Norwegian cause celebre. The Blix family are not rich so what lies behind Line’s motives? The story is told from several perspectives including journalist Selma who becomes obsessive about the case. 

There is much to praise in the storytelling which I find gripping. Elisa’s emotions, as well as that of husband Fredrik,  are captured so well and there is unsurprisingly a whole gamut of those. Both have secrets in their past that they’d like to keep buried and these emerge slowly but surely. The characters are very good and at times you feel like a fly on the wall observing them. The mysterious and intriguing case affects the whole country as it’s such a rare crime and so including a journalist is an excellent idea and her perspective is fascinating. You have no idea for much of the book whose ‘truth’ is the actual truth and that doesn’t emerge until the end and does so very dramatically. There’s a good sense of place in the descriptions which allows you to visualise the various locations. Elisa’s point of view I find the most riveting as her story and background in her birthplace of Lillehammer adds an intriguing dimension and she has a lot to hide. 

This is an excellent and well written psychological thriller however, I have some issues with Lucia’s perspective as she doesn’t sound like any seven year old I know. Whilst it’s vitally important to the storytelling to hear her voice I think it needs  to have a more authentic feel although it does make for interesting reading. 

Overall though  this is a superb, twisty thriller which keeps the interest throughout and I really like how the differing perspectives tie up so effectively at the end. Highly recommended. 

With thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for the ARC.
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Elsia had agreed to her daughter, Lucia fomon a playdate with her new friend, Josie. Ut when her dad goes to pick her up the next day, she's vanished along with the family. Selma is a journalist whom quickly becomes obsessed with Lucia's story. Shes convinced the family re hiding something and Selma  wants to get to the bottom of it. 

This is a gripping psychological thriller from beginning to end. We all worried when our kids were on a sleepover wondering if they're ok, ate their meal willmsleep ok etc. The story is full of twists and suspense. Its told from multiple points of view. I can't say too much about the storyline as I would spoil it for potential readers. The pace is good and steady. Thismis a well written book that will keep you guessing. 

I would like to thank NetGalley, Head Of Zeus and the author Alex Dhal for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thanks to netgalley and Head of Zeus for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.

The Playdate by Alex Dahl had me on the edge of my seat right from the first page all the way to  the last page. I even had to tell my husband not to talk too me at one point while i was reading one of the many twists  I also started and finished it in one sitting because I couldn't put it down

I could feel every emotion and personality from every character. I even felt bad for the kidnapper. 

Playdate is a gripping,twisty thriller that will have  you wondering whats next and will keep you reading til the end.
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If you enjoy gripping psychological thrillers then I highly recommend Playdate. As a parent my heart dropped reading this. Even as my kids got older and wanted a sleepover I tried to persuade them to have their friends stay over here as I worry so much. Thankfully when I let my kids sleepover I had complete trust in the other parents and knew them quite well. 

Elisa allows her daughter to have a sleepover at a new friends. When her dad turns up the next day to pick her up she’s vanished along with the family.  

A well written story with some good twists. Read it in a day as I needed to know what was gonna happen next.
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4.5 stars!  Edgy. Gripping. Intense.

This book shook me to the core.  It revolves around the abduction of a seven-year-old girl.  I have a daughter that age which intensified my connection to the storyline.  This had me on edge from start to finish - my pulse pounding, my heart hurting, holding my breath as I flipped pages.  

The narratives are brilliant!  There are several highly intriguing character perspectives that change as the chapters unfold.  The characters were real, emotional and authentic.   I felt for them and was intensely invested in each of their stories. 

The pace was quick, the flow was smooth — each chapter revealing slightly more to the backstory.  It kept me hungry for more yet worried about what I would uncover. 

I have read and loved every book by this author and this was no exception.  This was a well-written, highly suspenseful, atmospheric, tension-filled psychological thriller.   Loved every page of it!  

Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for my review copy!
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3,5 ⭐️ 

What kind of mother allows her 7 yo daughter to go on a playdate and sleepover with a person she just literally met? Clue: not a very good one! 

Although the premise sounded quite improbable I bought it for the sake of the story. It started pretty high and at first I thought this would be more of a thriller where we follow the investigation into the kidnapping, I found instead more of a family drama where we follow Lucia’s parents and how they deal with her absence, the new life Lucia is living with her kidnapper, and Selma, a journalist that becomes obssesed with Lucia’s case and my favorite character in this story.

All the different perspectives made this an interesting read, as we get to know also about the villain’s motivations and although they were not justifiable at all I couldn’t help to feel some sympathy for her. Certainly more than I did for Elisa, Lucia’s mom, as I could not understand how, in her situation, she was silent for 18 months just to save her sorry ass (I refer to the clue in my opening 😅)

With a good start and an ending that picked up the pace in the last 20%, the middle part stalled a bit. I had to substract half a star because the epilogue has an open ending that leaves the door open for a follow up but left me with a bittersweet taste. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Head of Zeus for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Elisa's daughter went to a sleepover with a new friend. She never came home... But this is no garden variety kidnapping, and instead Lucia's disappearance is revealed to be linked to a complex network of Eastern European child traffickers. Told from the perspective of a multitude of characters, 'Playdate' explores the depth of a mother's love, and how to cope when the unimaginable happens.

Now, the plot and characters and tone and everything about this is classic Scandinavian thriller. And this is something I'm not normally a massive fan of, as I generally prefer my thrillers to be more of the psychological variety. However, I did actually enjoy this one more than I expected! 

It definitely took a while to get into, and just to work out who was who and how they all connect together. But once you do it flows really well, and you definitely get into the story and wanting to find out the truth behind what happened.

All in all, a good enough read. Yeah, it's not the best one I've ever read, but I didn't hate it, and as someone who doesn't like the genre I was just impressed that it didn't end up as a DNF!

Disclaimer - I received an advance copy of this from NetGalley. This has not affected my review in any way, and all opinions are my own.
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Arrrrrhhh... why is it you have a book sat in your TBR pile for ages because you want to save some time knowing your going to devour it... the premise and blurb are right up your street, you're excited to finally sit down and get stuck in and then BAM you're left feeling 'meh' (as my 12 year old son calls it)

Now the start of this book had me hooked BUT at the same time everything felt predictable,  I'm sorry but what kind of mother let's her 7 year old  daughter have a sleepover with someone shes literally just set eyes on??

Personally for me there were too many POV's going on, so much so that I constantly lost track of 'who, what, where, when'

The constant flitting between characters left me with no attachment to any of them which is never a good thing in my eyes. I need that emotional attachment to at least one character to fully immerse into the story.

Basically it didnt7hold my interest, I felt like I'd been thrown into a chaotic room fill of too many people!

The premise sounded fantastic but it just didn't deliver for me.


Thanks to netgalley and Head of Zeus for the ARC.
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When 7-year-old Lucia asks to be allowed to have a sleepover at her new friend's house, Elisa hesitates.
But in the end, after several pleas from Lucia and lots of reassurance from the other girl's mother, she relents.
If only she hadn't, then her daughter wouldn't have been taken, and Elisa's life wouldn't have turned into her worst nightmare.

I have never read anything from this author before, but I was excited to be approved for this ARC as the blurb offered a very gripping premise.
And indeed, the beginning of the story hooked me instantly.
However, the rest of the book didn't follow the same pattern.
There are so many kidnap stories out there that for a book to stand out, it needs to be really extraordinary, and unfortunately, I found that this one didn't reach that level.
There were so many POVs, and the story kept chaotically skipping from one to another and back that I failed to get attached to any of the characters. 
The long period over which the action was stretched made me quickly lose interest, and the only thing that propelled me to keep turning the pages was my curiosity to see what would happen to Lucia.
I found that the last 30 percent of the book was the only action-packed and suspenseful part of it. The plus was that the story was set in Norway and France, which was a nice change from the usual settings.
Overall, it was a good story that kept me fairly entertained, but that lacked the distinguishing factor. I think you should check it out yourself.
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Every parents worst nightmare. Very well written with chapters from different characters perspectives. This book grabbed me from the first page. There were twists and turns that were very unexpected . All characters hold the key to saving the case. I couldnt stop turning the pages.
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This book would have been a five star read for me all the way if it wasn't for the fact that I can't wholly swallow what happened at the very beginning. I am not completely convinced that a mother would allow her child to stay over with a virtual stranger for her first ever playdate. But she did and, if not for that, there wouldn't be a book so I duly sucked it up and carried on reading. And the way things all went after that was my reward for doing so.
So obviously things go south at the playdate and when her dad goes to collect her, Lucia is nowhere to be found, her friend Josie and her mum also appear to have vanished without trace leaving everyone, including the police, completely baffled. Meanwhile, we follow Selma, a journalist who has become obsessed by Lucia's story. She is convinced that the family are holding something back and is determined to get to the bottom of things. Spanning several years, this story weaves around and about what happened to Lucia, the fallout it has caused her family, and Selma's investigation. Twisting and turning along the way as it delivers punch after punch as more of the layers peel back exposing the really rather shocking truth of it all.
This is quite a busy book once it gets started. It also gets quite convoluted as new information is delivered periodically throughout the book. But never so busy that it all collapses into farce. No, it's very cleverly plotted and that plot is delivered expertly by some of the most interesting characters I have read about in time. Not all nice I hasten to add, and most are flawed in one sense or another. But all easy to connect to / emote with.
And as the action ramps up to the final showdown my heart was literally in my mouth and if I could have read from behind a cushion I would have done so. An ending that both exhausted and satisfied me.
All in all, once I got over my niggle re the start of the book - and if you feel same, please do try and move past that - this turned out to be a thoroughly decent read. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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I found this book on netgallery by accident so glad I did.  It was a very gripping and enjoyable story which make you sit back and think how easy it can happen.
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Playdate is a dark and twisted exploration of what happens when a child goes missing, It's a captivating and tense read, which makes you question just how well do you know the people you leave your children with?
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This is a fast paced nerve wracking book you will want to fly through to find out where the child is & also why she was taken.   This is a must read!
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Thrillers are one of my favourite genres and this one is a great example, full of suspense and drama.

Your daughter goes on a playdate to her friend's, which turns into a sleepover and then goes horribly wrong... the fact that the start of the book is something recognisable that happens every day, all around the world, certainly makes your tummy turn!

I think the author did an amazing job, I really enjoyed the way the story was shown from different viewpoints and the characters were great.  I did guess what as going on at 62% (yes, I made a note of it) but whereas this may have put me off other thrillers, it did not here.  I still had many questions and wanted to see how the book panned out.

I haven't read any of Alex Dahl's other books but I will definitely keep an eye out for her name now.  I read this one in just 3 evenings with one very late bedtime so I could finish, and would recommend to all thriller fans.
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This is the first of Alex Dahl's books that I have read and I would definitely recommend it. 

I really enjoyed the story. I did feel it went on a bit in the middle, but overall it was a good read.  I will be looking for other books by this author.
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This book sounded good but I'm afraid I couldn't get into it. Sorry, this one isn't for me but I see from other reviews that a lot of people have enjoyed it
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When your child's playdate gone wrong... When Elisa agreed for her daughter, Lucia, to go for a playdate with her new friend, Josie; she never thinks that she'll never see Lucia again. 
What could possibly go wrong?
Both Elisa and her husband hasn't heard anything from Josie's mum, Line, whom supposedly drop Lucia back the next day. 
Selma is a journalist who somewhat obsessed with the disappearance of Lucia.

Playdate by Alex Dahl is a gripping read which I devour in a day.
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Firstly thank you to the publishers for accepting my netgalley request to read. The premise and title intrigued me straight away.
This doesnt hold back, we are launched into the action very quickly. Every parents worse nightmare but even more when you handed your child over!Packed with tension and suspense this is a fast paced nerve wracking book.A gripping thriller that will have you hooked to find not only the child but the truth Published 9th july in e book and hardback later in the year.
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