Title: Daddy Dearest
Author: Paul Southern
Publication Date: June 1, 2016
I received a copy from the author for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion in any way.
An estranged father’s weekend with his beloved five-year-old daughter turns into a nightmare when she gets into the lift of a city centre tower block and goes down without him. She vanishes without a trace. It sets off a race against time, and a nationwide manhunt, to find her. As the police investigation closes in, suspicion falls on those closest to her – with devastating consequences. Daddy Dearest is a terrifying story of love, obsession and psychological meltdown.
‘My daughter has always had a thing about lifts. There’s something about the thrill of pressing a button and seeing the lift doors close which excites her imagination. It terrifies me. Every time she walks in, I imagine it’s the last time I’ll see her. What if she hits the button before I get there? What if the lift doors close and I can’t get her out? It drives me nuts. There are eight floors in the Sears building, nine if you count the basement, and the lift is fast: more like a fairground ride, really. It does top to bottom in twelve seconds. I’ve timed it. Taking the stairs, I’ve done it in forty-two. That leaves a gap of thirty seconds. You’d be surprised what can happen in that time. I was.’
Imagine you lost your daughter! Imagine she enters an elevator, playfully, and doesn’t come back out. The police is called, all floors are searched with no sign of her. Imagine the panic. This was not hard for me to do being a mother of a daughter.
The main character is father, divorced and a bit jealous that his wife has moved on. He also suffers from OCD. He is crazy about his little girl, she is the center of his world ! When she goes missing, his carefully organised life comes crashing down and in its wake a path of lies, death and betrayal.
I love the author’s narrative style, It’s quirky with a dash of dark humour and very captivating. It draws you into this seemingly simple story that will eventually leave you in shock with its many twists and turns on this ride in the mind of a mentally unstable and disturbed antagonist. It will force you to consider your deepest fear and engage your emotions. You will experience genuine horror as if it were your story and would even find yourself sympathetic to the antagonist.
Daddy Dearest captured and held my interest from start to finish and just when I thought I had it all figured out, threw in a twist that turned everything upside down. I do wish I had more insight into the mother’s thought processes which I think would have added that extra something that I felt was missing.
Overall, a very well-written, engaging and fast-paced psychological thriller that will have you empathising with the antagonist who is neither hero nor anti-hero but something else altogether. . It’s twisted, it’s dark, it reaches into your soul and pulls out your deepest fear as a parent and shows how easily they could become a reality. It sent chills up my spine for sure! Two thumbs up !!