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BOOK
Lullaby

Author: Claire Seeber
Avon / Harper Collins
RRP: 6.99
ISBN: 978 1 84756 035 3
Available 15 October 2007


Jess Finnegan should have it all, with eight month old Louis and a husband in tow, things should have been falling into place for her life. But it only takes a moment for your world to fall apart as Jess soon discovers. On a trip out with the family Jess looses track of Mickey, her husband and Louis. With her panic rising she searches for her husband and child and finds no trace. Worse is to come as Mickey is found unconscious with no sign of her child...

Lullaby is the debut novel by Claire Seeber. One of the things that you can say about the narrative is that the tension is so high that you'll find yourself grinding your teeth. Seeber is also a cruel writer to her poor heroine Jess. You think that it would be bad enough that your child disappears with you having no idea if they are alive or dead, but that's not enough for Seeber as she slowly unravels the world that Jess thinks she knows.

As the plot reveals, everyone has secrets, even her husband. As the duplicity of the characters is revealed everyone becomes suspect until Jess can no longer rely on what she thought she knew and the pressure slowly starts to unravel her.

One of the nice things about the novel is Seeber's ability to make her audience empathise with Jess. Even through the most traumatic sections of the book you feel that you just can't put the book down. Jess is a believable distressed character, so much so, that you feel her pain, making the book more than a little distressing to read. This is the mark of a good novel - the ability to touch the audience on an emotional level.

If I had to find fault it would be with some of the secondary characters which are not so well rounded out. This may be because Seeber was using a lot of herself in the book and so forgot to pay as much attention to the other characters as she should.

Still, as a debut novel it's a real tour de force, in your face, page turner, with only a few minor quibbles around the construction of the supporting characters and a very satisfying twist at the end.

Given the book;s main premise, that of an abducted child, it's fairly brave of Seeber to release it at a time when the McCann case is on the news most every night, as there bound to be some moron who will accuse her of exploitation. That, of course, would ignore the fact that a book takes longer to write than the time the case has been around or the fact that children disappearing is more common than we want to admit in our culture.

So a good start to what I hope is a long career for Seeber.

Charles Packer

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