His Kidnapper’s Shoes by Maggie James
Published by Lake Union Publishing on November 15, 2016
Genre(s): fiction, crime, mystery, suspense
Format & Pages: e-book, 286
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Daniel is my son. He has always been mine. And he always will be.
On some level deep inside, Laura Bateman knows something is wrong. That her relationship with her son is not what it should be. That it is based on lies.
But bad things have happened to Laura. Things that change a person. Forever.
For twenty-six-year-old Daniel, the discovery that his mother is not who he thought comes close to destroying him. As his world turns upside down, he searches for sanity in the madness that has become his life. Daniel is left with nothing but questions. Why did Laura do something so terrible? Can he move past the demons of his childhood?
And the biggest question of all: can he ever forgive Laura?
Revised edition: This edition of His Kidnapper’s Shoes includes editorial revisions.
A disturbing, compelling read, His Kidnapper’s Shoes provides a glimpse into the dysfunctional ways we as humans justify our actions.
Told in dual perspective, this is essentially the story of Laura and her son, Daniel. We start both perspectives in present day, then promptly jump back into two separate flashbacks covering more than half of the book before returning to present day for the ending. The separate points of view and multiple timelines could have been confusing, but there was enough structure and clear writing to always understand exactly where we stood in the story.
I can’t exactly say I enjoyed this book. The content matter was too disturbing and I did not like our main characters. Despite all the horrible things Laura survived, I found it exceptionally hard to sympathize with her. And yet, like watching a car crash, I couldn’t look away. The insight into her dysfunction fascinated me. Meanwhile, Daniel was whiny, narcissistic, and frankly, a bit feminine. His character felt like a man written from a woman’s perspective, especially in the way he has long discussions with other women dissecting his feelings. That being said, the growth he experiences by the end of the book redeemed this slightly for me.
“They can go on labelling what I did a crime but that’s black-and-white thinking and sometimes life presents you with shades of grey instead.”
“Sometimes the people who touch our lives the most are only passing through.”
I find it hard to call this a thriller. There were plenty of twists, but I expected each of them. Instead, I would call this a thought provoking study of the inner workings of dysfunction and compassion. Recommended, with the warning that there are some disturbing themes and scenes.
*Thanks to the publisher for providing an arc of this edition via NetGalley.