A Horrifying String of Abductions

Folks — Just got this press release in my emails. Somehow, I don’t think this book — Just What kind of Mother Are You, by Paula Daly — is just what kind of summer read we’re looking for:

 It is every parent’s worst fear: a missing child. But what if the child you’ve lost was not your own? The unthinkable happens to Lisa Kallisto—an overwhelmed working mother—who takes her eye off the ball for just a moment during an impossibly hectic week, and suddenly her whole world descends into a living nightmare. Her best friend’s thirteen-year-old daughter has gone missing, on Lisa’s watch. And to make matters worse, Lucinda is the second teenage girl to disappear in the past two weeks. The first one turned up stripped bare and abandoned on the town’s main street after a horrible ordeal. Wracked with guilt over her mistake, and after having been publicly blamed by Lucinda’s family, Lisa sets out to right the wrong.

 Motherhood, marriage, and friendships are tested as this string of horrifying abductions tear through Lisa’s small-town community in the English Lake district. As she begins digging under the surface, Lisa learns that everything is not quite what it first appears to be. It seems that everyone in her picturesque village has a secret, and the investigation into Lucinda’s disappearance will force them all to expose the hidden truths they work so hard to keep buried from the world.

 Gripping and fast-paced, JUST WHAT KIND OF MOTHER ARE YOU?… explores the horrors that lurk in our everyday lives.

 Lurk, lurk, lurk. That’s what danger just loves to do. It’s always there and if you don’t see it and worry about it all the time, well, heck, that’s because it is LURKING. Duh! Take your “eye off the ball for just a moment” and suddenly you’re in a “living nightmare.”

Yes, yes, this is a novel and writers write what they hope will sell, and I wish any new author good luck. It’s just I’m so sick of how all roads (and books and TV shows and movies and Headline News stories and magazine tips and newspaper articles) lead to abduction. After all: it only takes a moment…to keep spreading fear.  – L

Ah, the empty swing. You know what THAT means, right?

38 Responses to A Horrifying String of Abductions

  1. Gary August 6, 2013 at 1:37 pm #

    “Ah, the empty swing. You know what THAT means, right?”

    DAMM STRAIGHT!!!!!

    It means those knee climbing ankle biters are finally gone and I can see if I can still swing way up and jump off without shattering my shins when I land.

  2. Dave August 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    I think I’ll skip this one and yes Gary empty swings allow us grownups a chance to enjoy the playground again..

  3. Natalie August 6, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

    Try reading Sharp Objects. It turns the abduction/murder of young girls trope on its head.

  4. Shelly Stow August 6, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    Yep, it’s what sells, but I think I’ll give that one a pass too. I get enough child-abducted fiction from reading press releases from legislators about why another residency restriction needs to be imposed on those on the registry.

  5. pentamom August 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    In a world turned right side up, this sounds like a fine premise for a novel. That is, things not being as they are, two abductions in a short time in a small town, a town full of dark secrets and horrifying hidden mysteries, those are the *anomalous* and bizarre kinds of things of which thrilling fiction is made.

    But in this environment, it only feeds a distorted view of reality. That’s not to say that this book shouldn’t have been written the way it was, it’s just unfortunate that we live in an age where, had Stevenson written “Jekyll and Hyde” now, a fair number of people would start believing that there should be a “mad scientist who splits himself in half so as to indulge vice with impunity” registry, because after all, “you never know” and “if it saves one old man from being bludgeoned, it’s worth it.”

    Then again, 200 years ago, Jane Austen wrote a novel about a teenage girl who couldn’t recognize everyday petty human vice and deceit in front of her, because she’d read too many books where all the bad guys abducted young women and locked people up in hidden rooms, but nobody ever treated their relatives with publicly respectable selfish unkindness, or insincerely-but-nonviolently used other people for their own ends. So maybe it’s not just our age.

  6. Kimberly August 6, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    It sounds like a good book. But 13 year-olds don’t need an eye kept on them every second/minute/hour. You really have to suspend disbelief for books like this.

  7. Warren August 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    I am just tired of these authors, reporters and anchors speaking on my behalf.

    It is not my worst nightmare, it is not even a minor concern.

    Yet they insist it is all of our worst nightmare……

  8. Earth.W August 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    I keep losing my children but they keep finding their way back home. *wink*

  9. Merrick August 6, 2013 at 2:09 pm #

    I was talking to some friends about the possibility of sending my son to fly unaccompanied … one piped up with “on an episode of Law & Order an unaccompanied child was molested in airplane bathroom”… as though this fictional account should color my decision making?
    The inundation of these images can seem to blur the line between fiction and reality for some people.

  10. pentamom August 6, 2013 at 2:19 pm #

    “one piped up with “on an episode of Law & Order an unaccompanied child was molested in airplane bathroom”

    One is tempted to respond to remarks like this with something like, “Yes, and in Spider-man a boy gets bit by a spider and learns to swing from skyscrapers by shooting webs from his hands. But I hadn’t finished telling you about the trip my son is taking….”

  11. Gary August 6, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    “One is tempted to respond to remarks like this with something like, “Yes, and in Spider-man a boy gets bit by a spider and learns to swing from skyscrapers by shooting webs from his hands. But I hadn’t finished telling you about the trip my son is taking….”

    You shoulda seen the Acme rocket I strapped to him the other day, but like I was saying…

  12. Emily August 6, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    >>“Ah, the empty swing. You know what THAT means, right?”<<

    Yes, it means that all the kids are inside playing "safely" in front of various screens, because their parents think that sending them to the playground is too dangerous.

  13. Ravana August 6, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Well, obviously the protagonist lives in Cabot Cove.

  14. Papilio August 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    My world is right side up. I’d read it.
    But I also enjoy Law & Order, so I guess I don’t count…

  15. lollipoplover August 6, 2013 at 3:39 pm #

    @Earth W.- I have a sign in my laundry room that says “I child-proofed my house but they still get in.”

    And I second the Sharp Objects read by Gillian Flynn- for an abduction story over this Mom Guilt story. Seriously- what kind of watch do you have on a thirteen-year old friend? Why is the blame game when something bad happens, especially on mothers? What kind of Father would let this happen?!

  16. Natalie August 6, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    @lollipop,
    Glad you also enjoyed her book. I haven’t read Gone Girl or her second novel yet. Do you know that Sharp Objects is her first published novel? She’s incredibly talented.

    @pentamom
    Speaking of good authors, which Jane Austen novel are you referring to? I’ve only recently discovered how great she is at social commentary. How did I get through school without reading anything by her? I don’t know. But I really enjoyed P&P. would like to read more!

  17. Merrick August 6, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    Papilio — great to enjoy it… bad to think it’s reality. LOL

    Natalie — there’s only six. READ THEM ALL. :) I adore Mansfield Park especially.

  18. Natalie August 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

    Only 6? You’re kidding me.
    What a legacy!

  19. Merrick August 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    Really — Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Mansfield Park were published before she died and Northanger Abbey and Persuasion after.

  20. pentamom August 6, 2013 at 4:15 pm #

    It’s Northanger Abbey. But I second Merrick.

  21. Merrick August 6, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Jane-ites take over FRK.

    Perhaps the children just need to take a little exercise in the Park. 😉

  22. Natalie August 6, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Lol.
    My amazon wish list is updated…… Now!

  23. Papilio August 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    “I child-proofed my house but they still get in.”

    You got me laughing out loud!!! Brilliant! 😀

  24. marie August 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    As she begins digging under the surface, Lisa learns that everything is not quite what it first appears to be.

    Maybe Lisa learns how infrequent stranger abductions really are. :-)

  25. Reziac August 6, 2013 at 8:59 pm #

    As she begins digging under the surface, Lisa learns that you have to make the hole deeper, or the kids just climb back out.

    😉

  26. olympia August 6, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

    @Natalie, lollipop- I loved “Sharp Objects” too, and while I think my favorite by Gillian Flynn would be her second ( “Dark Places”- so, so good), her exploration of Missing White Woman Syndrome and spot on parody-ing of Nancy Grace in “Gone Girl” were priceless.

  27. Natalie August 7, 2013 at 5:53 am #

    @olympia
    Ssshhhhh!
    I haven’t read those two yet. And I’ve heard that the first rule of Gillian Flynn books, is that you don’t talk about about Gillian Flynn books.

  28. SKL August 7, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    I don’t mind fiction that is full of fiction or even fantasy. :)

    I used to be a Mary Higgins Clark fan. It didn’t stop me from being free-range. (Though I have been told that some moms went and checked on their kids for a few nights after reading some of them . . . .)

    I go on YouTube and look at videos about really bad (true) cases of child abuse (of which a minority involve strangers). I dunno, sometimes I want to be outraged. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to suspect every parent or stranger of being dangerous around children.

    Yesterday someone on another site (don’t ask me where, I got in trouble last time) was upset because she took her 5yo to the doc to check for a UTI, and the doc looked at the child’s privates. Thankfully she was reassured by most parents that there is nothing strange or sinister about that. But it seems some parents, when telling their kids their privates are off limits to others, are forgetting to make an exception for parent-supervised doctor visits. I just can’t imagine what could go wrong if you’re standing right there while the doctor looks at your child. ?? Why take your kid to the doctor if you are that afraid?

  29. SKL August 7, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    It would seem my last paragraph above has nothing to do with anything. I meant to say that yeah, it seems some people are getting the message somewhere that the world is full of child molesters, but I don’t really think that’s coming from the fiction genre.

  30. pentamom August 7, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    “Yesterday someone on another site (don’t ask me where, I got in trouble last time) was upset because she took her 5yo to the doc to check for a UTI, and the doc looked at the child’s privates.”

    :headdesk

  31. SKL August 7, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    Along those same lines, but about a real case. Ariel Castro, on the fact that he cried over the loss of his house full of “so many happy memories.” Someone commented, “Ted Bundy cried rivers over a bicycle . . . . Twisted F’s. And they are ALL OVER the place, too.” OK, I was with you up till the last sentence. :/

  32. Papilio August 7, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    @Natalie & olympia: You’re anonimous on the internet. Unless Gillian Flynn’s real name is actually ‘Lenore Skenazy’ or vice versa, I think you’ll be safe 😛

  33. Havva August 7, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    A 13 teen year old, really? If a 13 year old disappears because someone “takes her eye off the ball for just a moment” it is because the 13 year old has been waiting for a chance to escape.

    I never felt the need to escape when I was 13. If I had wanted to run, I had enough time to myself that I could have been in another country by the time my parents discovered I was gone.

    I can’t wait to read the liturature written by the overheleoptered kids. I suspect the horrible suffering children in those stories will be the ones with parents crushing their spirit by trying to control every aspect of the life, and unable to allow reasonable risk. I’m already seeing a version of it. IFunny seems to be populated largely by teens, and variants of the same common joke/complaint/storyline keep coming up:

    Mom: You spend too much time on [x-box, internet, other electronic distraction].
    Me: Okay mom, can I go outside?
    Mom: No!!
    Me: *goes back to playing x-box*

  34. anonymous this time August 7, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    “Ah, the empty swing. You know what THAT means, right?”

    My turn!

    Yes, the most mundane or exceptional things have a different meaning and significance for each one of us. Learning to accept that it is our INTERPRETATION of what is happening around us that actually forms our internal experience is taking back the reins and refusing to go along with the idea that “Anyone would feel the same way in this situation.”

    I agree, Warren. Abduction is not my worst nightmare. If it happened, it would certainly be a nightmare, but it’s not a pet worry of mine, not in the slightest, and I don’t enjoy having it projected onto me, again and again, by people who have ceased to think objectively about what they are seeing and hearing and reading.

  35. David August 7, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

    Obviously by “worst nightmare” it means it is one of the worst things a person can experience. I would think for every person on here, losing a child – REALLY losing a child – would be one of the worst things you could experience. Knowing a child was abducted and possibly being raped and tortured right that minute as you were frantically looking and there isn’t a thing you can do about it, would be one of most people’s worst nightmares. That seems to be the premise of the book (since they mentioned another girl going through the same thing.) But it’s just a book. We can’t get all worked up and decide certain topics should be taboo (or there should be disclaimers that this may indeed not be EVERYONE’S worse nightmare) is kind of ridiculous and goes against everything we try to promote here…… FREEDOM to live our lives the way we see fit.

  36. Havva August 7, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    Yeah, my thought on the empty swing was the same as Emily. Poor kids aren’t getting out to play.
    I’ve been to the a meeting my school district is panicking because a record number of kids were born in the neighborhood, the last several years, and the schools are already full. The birth records say the neighborhood is absolutely rife with small children. But do we see these children? Hardly. The swings are empty, the slides are empty.

  37. dancing on thin ice August 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    Authors send these here for publicity.
    Don’t give then it by just using the excerpt and no name.

    A technical writer I read refuses to link to books or articles he doesn’t believe in because that action just makes the attention seekers more likely to show up in internet searches.

  38. Eileen August 10, 2013 at 5:15 am #

    I live in Las Vegas. Here an empty swing means it is during the day in June, July, or August.