Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Stolen - Rebecca Muddiman

‘How had this become her life? It wasn’t even a life. She felt like a ghost.’

Abby Henshaw is on her way to visit a friend after a doctor’s appointment with her eight-month-old baby daughter, Beth. The journey she makes will change her life forever. Suffering a horrendous assault and abandoned at the roadside in a remote spot in the country, Abby faces not only the after effects of the brutal attack, but also comes to a terrifying realisation about Beth – she is gone, stolen. DI Michael Gardner investigates the case and as he looks into Abby’s life and those closest to her, he starts to uncover huge secrets amongst them, and he also finds himself forming a bond with Abby and unable to let the case go even when any leads seem to have gone cold.

Rebecca Muddiman successfully portrays how Abby’s life is utterly destroyed by Beth’s disappearance, and how she is tormented by the secrets she kept and the decisions she made. She is reduced to scouring public places in the vain hope of ever seeing Beth again, and when there is new hope she depicts the struggle Abby has to convince those around her to believe her and not let this lead slip away.

This powerful debut is a compelling, page-turner of a crime novel from a talented new author. The story slowly builds in tension, I was a bit keen for it move slightly quicker at times in the middle, but when the revelations come towards the end, I felt they were powerful and shocking. The chapters are very short and keep the story ticking along at a good pace. The plot is always central to this novel – the reader questions what the outcome will be throughout – but the novel is also very much character driven, as we get a strong insight into Abby’s drastically altered life and into DI Gardner’s rather empty life and his mindset as he continues to doggedly pursue this case for Abby, despite it having been shelved and seemingly without any hopes of resolution, whilst under pressure to solve his other cases. 

I was really keen to discover the ending to this story and learn if what I had suspected was true; there are clues for us but the whole truth when it comes is more shocking than I had thought. I look forward to reading more from this author. 

Published by Moth Publishing and Winner of the Northern Crime Competition 2012

I originally reviewed this book for Newbooks magazine.

You can find the author on twitter @RebeccaMuddiman and visit her blog here.


  1. That sounds like a really intriguing book! It's on my list.

    1. Thanks for commenting Elaine. It was intriguing wondering what had happened and how it would be resolved.

  2. This sounds really powerful. I'll have to put it on my to read list.

    Great review.



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