“Playing Nice” by J.P. Delaney – Book Review

Pete and Maddie – are the middle-class parents of two year old Theo. When Theo was born, he was premature and suffered from complications. Now though, he is a healthy, boisterous, active, charming little boy.



Miles and Lucy – are the wealthy parents of two year old David. They too delivered David prematurely. They too had a son with severe complications. Their son was deprived of oxygen at birth and is now learning disabled and suffers from various physical problems.

Miles Lambert knocks on Pete’s door one day to announce the bombshell that he believes the two boys were switched at birth through hospital error. It would seem that somehow their hospital identification bracelets were somehow switched.

This begins a spiral of stress, litigation, and trauma that has no foreseeable end…

It took me a good while to get into this book. I couldn’t bond with any of the characters and I couldn’t understand their approach to this dreadful moral quandary they found themselves mired in. Then, at about the 30% mark, I found I was hooked. Why? It was about then that I realized that there was something seriously fiendish about one of the parents. The playing field was no longer friendly. The parent in question believed themselves to be omnipotent and was ruthlessly diabolical in their attempts to get their own way.

From then on, I couldn’t put the book down. I just had to see if justice would be done. More importantly, in a situation such as these families find themselves in you have to ask… Just what would be justice in this case?

This is nature vs. nurture to the nth degree.

Told from the point of view of Pete and then alternately Maddie, the pace of the story moved quickly. I found I didn’t care for Maddie’s character at all, despite the desperate circumstances she found herself in. Pete was my favourite character and I rooted for his happiness throughout.

How the author brings this novel to a conclusion is chilling… yet somehow bizarrely fitting and darkly satisfying. Recommended!

This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Trapeze/Orion Publishing via Secret Readers/Quantified Reading.

Publication date: August 6, 2020

Publisher: Quercus

ISBN: 9781529400847       432 pages


J. P. Delaney is the pseudonym of writer Anthony Capella.  He was educated at St. Peter’s College, Oxford. Born in Uganda, he now resides in Oxfordshire, England with his wife and three children.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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15 Responses to “Playing Nice” by J.P. Delaney – Book Review

  1. Pingback: #BookRecommendations with titles that start with the letter ‘P’ #GreatReads | Fictionophile

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  3. Carla says:

    I can’t even imagine what I would do if I got that knock on the door. Wonderful review Lynne. It is good to know that it might take a bit to get into it. I put his on my TBR, but it will depend if my library gets it or not.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Links I’ve Enjoyed This Week – 08/11/2020 #WeeklyRoundUpPost 🔗📆 🔗 #SecretLibraryBookBlog – Secret Library Book Blog

  5. I love your illustrations of this book and your review, Lynne💜Bumping it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice review, thanks for sharing your thoughts

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fantastic review Lynne. I’m bumping this up my tbr!

    Liked by 1 person

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