Title: The Ones You Trust
Author: Caroline Overington
Published: August 20th 2018
Publisher: Harper Collins Books Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Psychological, Thriller, Crime, Mystery
Rating: 4 stars
Emma Cardwell, celebrity mum and host of top-rating morning TV show Cuppa, seems to have it all: fame, money and a gorgeous family. But when her little girl disappears from day-care – captured on CCTV footage at a nearby shopping centre leaving with someone Emma has never seen before – her world is turned upside down.
As the minutes tick by, and pressure mounts, every part of Emma’s life comes under examination. Is this a kidnapping, the work of a crazed stalker, or an obsessed fan? Is somebody out for revenge or is this something closer to home?
And there is the aching question: how much do we really know about those who care for our children . . . and about the people we love?
Questions of trust, ambition, protection and family are all placed under the microscope in popular psychological thriller novelist, Caroline Overington’s latest novel The Ones You Trust. Overington presents what she knows best, delivering a read that strikes both at the heart of family life and the media world, both are areas she knows like the back of her hand. The Ones You Trust is a page turner that delivers a tense read until the final breathtaking moments of this highly strung tale.
The Ones You Trust revolves around a celebrity breakfast television show host, Emma Cardwell. On the outset it appears if Emma has quite the charmed life, a handsome and hands on husband, a beautiful family and a lovely home. This all comes crashing down in a spectacular fashion, when Emma’s youngest child vanishes from her day care centre. CCTV footage of that fateful day reveals Emma’s daughter in the local shopping centre with a stranger, a figure Emma has never set eyes on before. From this moment on Emma’s life spirals out of control. The Ones You Trust is delivered as it happens, we are privy to the all important moments before, during and after the kidnapping. At the same time, Emma’s already public life is splayed out for all to see. Secrets are revealed, Emma’s circle of trust is questioned and the race to find Emma’s daughter, Fox-Piper is on.
Caroline Overington is an Australian writer that I have come to admire over the years and I always look forward to a new book released by this best-selling writer. There is something unique about Overington’s writing style, I tend to think of her as the closest thing to an Australian Jodi Picoult. Although Sisters of Mercy, an older title of Overington’s remains my all time favourite, The Ones You Trust has definitely scored a place on my list of entertaining novels by this author.
Onto the book, readers will be pleased to see that Overington has based her latest novel back on home soil. There is an American character, but the book’s proceedings take place in Sydney. I think this is where The Ones You Trust succeeds this time around, the local setting is immediate and realistic. There is an excellent sense of foreboding, danger and overall panic that descends on this story. This uptight atmosphere, followed by snappy dialogue to match, is established very early on in the piece and doesn’t ease up until the very close of the novel. I enjoyed this very much.
The characterisation is solid in The Ones You Trust, there are a great array of secondary players that expand this novel’s depths. In particular, I found Emma Cardwell, Overington’s main protagonist immediately appealing. As a working mother, I quickly sympathised with Emma’s mother’s guilt and the difficulty of maintaining a working life/career/relationship/family balance. Overington makes light of this issue with a sense of understanding and realism, it allows the reader to make a swift and lasting connection to Emma. I felt every gut wrenching moment of her daughter’s disappearance and I genuinely hoped that her daughter’s final fate did not end in foul play. I will leave it up to the audience to decide how they feel about this one after the book has reached its close.
Overington’s plot is perfectly poised and situated in the here and now. The timeline flows without any bumps, courtesy of the structured timeline, outlining the date and time present on the pages of this novel. This is a very current and connective novel. For Australian readers, I was reminded of our popular breakfast television shows Sunrise and Today, along with their well known hosts. What Overington did was take this one step further and show us the cut throat world of promotion, ratings, rivalry, co hosts, public relations, social media and the paparazzi. This world is not a glamorous as we all think. This extra dimension to The Ones You Trust hoists the reader further into the world of Emma and her lost daughter, Fox-Piper.
In terms of the central mystery, the case of missing 17 month old Fox-Piper, Overington works hard to deliver plenty of twists, turns and diversions. A range of possible theories were laid out, along with a few suspects and leads. As usual, I was not on the money with this one, although I did sniff out the general gist of the reasons behind the disappearance of little Fox-Piper. Overington is quite the puppet master with this one, pulling our strings until the final curtain call!
The Ones You Trust, the latest psychological thriller by Caroline Overington reminds me of why I turned to her writing some years ago now. Overington’s work is obsessive, compulsive and it always delivers a current moral conundrum to consider. The entertainment value with this one is high and I am happy to recommend The Ones You Trust to readers.
The Ones You Trust by Caroline Overington was published on 20th August 2018 by Harper Collins Books Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Ones You Trust, Caroline Overington, visit here
*I wish to thank Harper Collins Books Australia for providing me with a free copy of this book for review purposes.
The Ones You Trust, is book #116 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge