The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

What a book…! Full of twists and turns, just when you think you have it all figured out, another curveball is thrown in!

On the hottest day of the year, Caroline Harvey is found dead in Suffolk. Her body is left draped over a cot – but the baby she was looking after is missing.  
Hundreds of miles away, Siobhan Dillon is on a luxurious family holiday in France when her husband, Callum, is arrested by French police on suspicion of murder.
As Siobhan’s perfect family is torn apart by the media in the nation’s frantic search for the missing baby, she desperately tries to piece together how Callum knew Caroline.
What happened that night? Was Caroline as innocent as she seemed – or was she hiding a secret of her own?

I’ll be honest, there were multiple times during this book that I was sure I’d got it all figured out. I was SO smug, sure that I’d outwitted Morgan and sussed out her plot… But of course, I was wrong. Her writing is so clever, subtly teasing the reader and leading them to think one thing, when all along she’s hiding the truth. I really loved this, and although I’ve loved Morgan’s first two books, this one truly got the better of me.

The premise of this book is actually really heartbreaking. Caroline, a woman desperate for love but also desperately lonely, is found dead after babysitting her friend’s baby. It’s a harrowing crime and one that leaves the reader desperate to know what’s happened right from the start. Morgan is clever though, and doesn’t throw this straight in at the first chapter, instead leading with Siobhan’s husband, Callum, being arrested. Highlighting Siobhan’s reaction and emotions instead of the family of the missing baby, cleverly subverts the reader’s expectations and the traditional viewpoint of the victim that’s often found in thrillers.

Straight from the start then, Morgan makes it clear that she’s not going to give us a book that uses traditional thriller tropes. The story focuses on Siobhan and her family, with occasional flashbacks to Caroline’s point of view that really work well to build the suspense further. There are some very clever reveals along the way, not too much so that the reader is overwhelmed but enough to keep us well and truly gripped. Each character is quite hard to read but there’s enough to make the reader feel sympathetic towards the horrifying situation they are in.

Towards the end, suspicion definitely starts to creep in, but Morgan doesn’t allow enough time for the reader to settle in to their suspicions before the ending really builds. It’s fast-paced, thrilling and I was left feeling really satisfied with the conclusion. This was an excellent, gripping thriller and one I would seriously recommend.

The Babysitter
Phoebe Morgan
HQ, 28th May 2020

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