About the book:
Lynda – is single and nearing retirement from her job as a school teacher. She lives alone and enjoys her own company. She has lived with regrets and guilt for most of her adult life. Her only friend is a neighbour, a former teacher named Moira.
Moira – a widow and a former school teacher. Her only friend in the neighbourhood is the self-contained Lynda. Moira lives alone in a large house and a garden which she tends with religious regularity and enthusiasm.
Sarah – is married to a philandering man who spends little time at home. She is childless, much to her deep disappointment. She lives in a lovely detached house which she keeps spotless. Lonely, she has no friends – mostly due to her abrasive and rather toxic personality. Sarah has far too much time on her hands, and is constantly speculating on affairs that are none of her business…
Emily – is newly divorced and is the mother to an eight-year-old boy named Joel. When she learns of Leo’s disappearance, she becomes increasingly fretful about her own son, especially when she is at work. Emily is in a new relationship with Mohammed, a lovely man who works as a taxi driver.
Ashton – has recently returned to his home village. When he was just eleven years old he sexually molested another boy at his school. He thought this was acceptable behavior because he had been constantly molested by his step-father for as long as he can remember. Now an adult, he realizes that what he did was a product of his upbringing and he desires more than anything, to ‘start over‘ and be a good person.
Leo – eight-years old, he is picked up at his school when his mother fails to collect him in time. The person who picks him up tells him that his mother is delayed at the hospital where she works as a nurse. Polite and loveable, Leo’s strength and confidence is tested over the course of the book.
Leo’s mother is reviled in the press and on social media. The public blame her for Leo’s abduction, despite the unavoidable circumstances which led to her failing to pick him up from school.
“When people are kept in the dark, they make up their own version of events. Whispers and rumours only worsen the situation.”
After reading “Her Dark Retreat” and the fabulous “The Woman at Number 19“, I was very eager to read more by the author J.A. Baker. After reading “Looking for Leo” I’ve decided that I will make it my mission to read everything she has written to date.
Over the course of the book we come to know four neighbours of a small village in North Yorkshire. Two are in late middle-age and are best friends. Two are younger and don’t know each other very well. These women all have secrets and flaws, and their reactions to an eight-year old boy who goes missing in the next village are all unique to themselves.
Told from the points of view of several different characters, the narrative is well-rounded and rife with red-herrings. Just when you think you know what has taken place, you are forced to reassess your beliefs and ponder the next likely scenario.
I loved the North Yorkshire setting and the pacing of the story was just perfect. The ending revelations were memorable.
I urge all domestic thriller lovers to add this book to their TBRs. The sooner the better!
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 Bloodhound Books ISBN: 9781913942199 – ASIN: B08SCPJD89 – 296 pages
Born in Middlesbrough, North Yorkshire, Judith A. Baker developed a deep appreciation of literature and reading from a young age after being introduced to it by her parents. Weekly visits to the library were the norm and after being handed a collection of Edgar Allen Poe stories by her father, her love for the darker side of fiction slowly grew. She is an avid reader of all books but is drawn in particular, to psychological thrillers.
After many rejections (too many to mention!) her debut novel, Undercurrent, was published by Bloodhound Books in March 2017 and made it into the top 100 Amazon chart in both the UK and Canada. J.A. Baker is the author of ten stand-alone thrillers.
J. A. Baker has four grown up children and lives in a village on the outskirts of Darlington with her husband Richard, and Theo, their barking mad dog.
J.A. Baker’s website: http://www.jabakerauthor.co.uk/