Name: Now You See Her
Author: Heidi Perks
Genre: Thriller, Psychological Thriller
Now You See Her is the compulsive thriller by Heidi Parks, about a woman who loses her friends daughter at the school fete but is there more than meets the eye?
The story begins in a police interview room where a woman named Charlotte Reynolds is being interviewed by police about the disappearance of a four-year-old girl, Alice Hodder who disappeared thirteen days prior.
We then get taken back to the day of her disappearance. Alice’s mother Harriet reluctantly lets Charlotte look after her daughter for the day for the very first time as she is going on a bookkeeping course. Charlotte plans a day at their children’s school fete. However, whilst there her children and Alice go on a Jungle Run inflatable ride but whilst Charlotte briefly checks her phone the unthinkable happens and Alice disappears.
However the story moves between the interview taking place in the present and the events leading up to that day, is there more to Alice’s disappearance than meets the eye and what secrets could come out of both women’s lives?
This is my first Heidi Perks novel which I read as part of a book club I have joined and I was hooked straight away. Both characters of Harriet and Charlotte are compelling characters and Perks does a fantastic job of slowly revealing information about both characters as the truth emerges.
To say I was definitely hooked was an understatement as today I read over half the book in a single sitting as I was so hooked by the plot and wanted to find out what happened. I don’t want to spoil too much for people who don’t want to read spoilers so I will put the rest of my thoughts in a tab below but I would highly recommend giving this book a read.
For those who don’t mind spoilers Perks does a fantastic job of presenting events in one way and then turning them completely on their head at the halfway point. For the first half of the book I didn’t initially have too much sympathy for Charlotte as she is presented as a mother who seems a little out of her depth and wasn’t looking after the children at the fete properly but as events transpire and we learn Harriet was behind her daughter’s kidnapping we begin to feel sympathy for her as the sense of inevitability builds up that Alice was going to be taken that day whatever Charlotte did. We also feel that huge sense of loss and betrayal as she has to deal with what her friend has done largely on her own.
I also liked how Perks presented Brian’s abuse of Harriet, at the beginning when we meet him he is angry with Charlotte which at least seems understandable although over the top, but then events gradually turn stranger as he doesn’t want Harriet going out alone and also offers to make her toast, despite her refusals and puts marmalade on it even though she doesn’t like marmalade, only to then insist she asked him to make her toast when she didn’t. This all shows how he gaslights her into believing everything he says and coerces her. Progressively through the first half this gets worse and I did want to give Harriet a shake almost to make her realise what is going on around her, as well as wanting to see him get his comeuppance as she seems to always let it go.
Then of course the book switches to Harriet’s perspective fully and we discover she has known all along where Alice is and planned it in order to get away from her husband. This revelation did completely floor me as Perks presents Harriet up to this point as being quite timid, though we do know she has lied to Brian about being able to swim which becomes crucial in the final chapters. It also hooked as I then wanted to know fully her reasoning and why. It also shows you Harriet was playing along with Brian in the early chapters until she got the opportunity to get away leading to the exciting final showdown in Cornwall.
The book has really interesting and well-developed characters and a fantastic plot with twists and turns which I would highly recommend giving a read.