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Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Buy from: Harlequin AUS website
A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica
She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can't get the girl out of her head…
Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family's objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.
Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow's past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she's willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated

An Advance Reading Copy was provided by Harlequin MIRA Australia in exchange for an honest review.

If I were to rate Pretty Baby based on the efforts alone, this would be a solid 5-stars read. No one can say Mary Kubica did not try hard enough. She did. And it showed. Hence I'm genuinely gutted that I didn't love this book more. The book is lacking on the execution and the enjoyment factor.

I'm so...unenthusiastic about this book. Which makes it so hard to write a review on. I felt like Pretty Baby tried too hard to be different and genre-bending. Unfortunately, we get a final product that is not quite. Not quite thriller. Not quite mystery. Not quite drama.

In comparison to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl and Dark Places (comparison is inevitable because well, just look at the cover), Kubica's writing is relatively easier to stomach (haha!) but the issues dealt in this book are disturbing all the same.

I thought the beginning was very well done. Although it initially reads from two totally opposite point of views (Heidi's and Chris'), I could relate to them both which in turns questioned my own morality and choices if I were in their position. So that was really interesting. Enters Willow's point of view and it was like reading a different book altogether. No date/time stamp follows the start of each chapter so it took me awhile to orientate myself - that Willow's POV is told sometimes in the future (with of course, flashbacks thrown in as well because why not?). Contrary to most psychological thrillers which reveal early on that someone's missing/killed/dead/became amnesiac, Pretty Baby definitely takes its sweet time to tell the readers what actually had happened. So for me, the intrigue is lost and I was left hanging for so long that I contemplated DNF-ing this book so many times.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is not a good sign for a thriller book.

Did the ending redeem the whole book? Well, I definitely did not expect the ending, so that's something. I don't know...I was just content with it. I wasn't wowed by it but it satisfied me nonetheless.
3 poker faces

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