Sunday 2 August 2020


Pete Riley answers the door one morning to a parent's worst nightmare. On his doorstep is a stranger, Miles Lambert, who breaks the devastating news that Pete's two-year-old, Theo, isn't his biological child after all - he is Miles's, switched with the Lamberts' baby at birth by an understaffed hospital.

Reeling from shock, Peter and his partner Maddie agree that, rather than swap the children back, it's better to stay as they are but to involve the other family in their children's lives. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an official investigation that unearths some disturbing questions about just what happened on the day the babies were switched.

And when Theo is thrown out of nursery for hitting other children, Maddie and Pete have to ask themselves: how far do they want this arrangement to go? What are the secrets hidden behind the Lamberts' smart front door? And how much can they trust the real parents of their child - or even each other? 

I've read three JP Delaney thrillers and loved every single one for different reasons, so I was really looking forward to reading this one too. Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy. 😊 

Pete is a stay-at-home father, but doesn't like that term. He's also a freelance journalist but devotes most of his time to taking care of his two-year-old son Theo, while his partner Maddie works in advertising.

The day a stranger knocks on his door and tells him their sons were switched at birth, their lives change in some very unexpected and dangerous ways...

Wow. I was hooked from the beginning and struggled to put this book down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

I'm not surprised, though. This author has an uncanny way of spinning a wicked contemporary tale starring seemingly average people in totally messed-up and complicated scenarios.

Everything starts out normal enough. A father drops his son off at preschool and when he gets home finds out the child he's been raising isn't his son because a complete stranger tells him this new piece of information. See? Very normal circumstances. 😳 I just wish this was the worst of it for this poor couple, because it doesn't take long for their lives to start crumbling.

This is one of those stories where you can see what's going to go wrong and wish you could warn the characters. Try to stop them before they make the terrible mistake they're so easily manipulated into without realising what's happening. There were so many things they should've checked, so many details they should've paid attention to, and a sticky web they should've avoided by not being so trusting. You just can't take things at face value, especially something this serious.

The story is told in the POVs of Pete and Maddie, slowly revealing how their lives fall apart on the day they meet a psychopath. There are also court papers, texts, emails, articles and letters throughout that really add depth as this family's life is torn apart one piece at a time. 

Playing Nice is an addictive psychological thriller about what happens when you allow complete strangers into your life after they've bamboozled you into an unexpected and really complicated situation, while taking advantage of your good nature. It's a deep study of a bizarre situation and led me down a very twisted path with a lot of unexpected and clever turns.

I can't wait to see what this author decides to tackle next.

Playing Nice, August 2020, ISBN 9781529400854, Quercus

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