Cover Image: The Child in the Photo

The Child in the Photo

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When Hope Taylor finds an envelope on her doormat containing only an old newspaper clipping, she doesn't know yet that her life is about to change. The article, around 34 years old, is about the kidnapping of a baby called Jane. Hope wonders why anyone would bother to send her an old newspaper article, until she notices the baby's ear in the picture. It's deformed, exactly like her own ear. Could this baby be her? Is Hope really Jane?

Kerry Wilkinson has written a gripping novel that reads like a thriller. I flew through the pages, wanting to know what was going to happen next. I was constantly amazed by all the events happening one after the other in Hope's life. In just a couple of days, Hope's life is turned inside out. Not only is she figuring out if her parents stole her, but her best friend Stephen gets attacked because of his homosexuality. And if that's not all, Hope also has a physical disability, after losing one of her legs in a car accident.
All together The Child in the Photo contains many themes. Usually I find that unrealistic and a bit overdramatic, but in this book it's perfectly done, and gives the plot real momentum. There's no way you're going to put down this thriller before reaching its end!

Kerry Wilkinson is a British author who has written over 30 novels ranging from thrillers to young adult novels. In 2018, Wilkinson's Ten Birthdays won the Young Adult Romance Novel of the Year award. One of his crime books has also picked up an accolade: Close To You won the Best Ebook Original Novel in 2020.
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I make no secret of the fact that I am a huge fan of this author - both series and stand alones. There is something about his no nonsense style of writing that really gels with me. Along with his tight plotting, ability to pull the wool over my eyes all the time, are some of the best characters I have met. What starts out being quite a simple premise swiftly descends into more secrets, lies and duplicitous behaviour as we struggle to figure out the truth. Little does Hope know that her world as she knows it is about to blow up before her eyes when she is sent a cutting from a newspaper. There's a picture of a child who was snatched. A child that, well, shares a certain deformity with Hope. A child who, judging by the dates, could well be her. But this is a child who was snatched. Who, on investigation, was never found. Hope has two loving parents and an extended family. None of it makes sense...? And so begins the voyage of discover that Hope never envisaged she would ever embark on. A voyage that will test her and, well, lets just say throw up more questions than answers along the way...
Wowsers. You think you have it all worked out. As I've already said, it seems a simple premise. But oh my days! This book delivers and delivers. And then some more! All delivered in the author's no nonsense style, fully of cracking life and character observations (10 out of 10 once again for people watching) and with absolutely no superfluous waffle or padding. Plotting is tight and well executed and had me on my toes throughout. It sucked me in from the very first page and help me captive throughout my time spent with it. Which was pretty much one sitting, breaking only for the necessary life stuff. And the ending when it came - whew! I skirted around a few things, I shouted at certain characters to "be careful" but I really didn't see that coming!
All in all, a cracking addition to an already well impressive back catalogue. My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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This is a new author for me and I shall look out for more. 

I thought it was a well written book which kept me hooked from the beginning. The story had many twists and turns and the only downside was I felt the ending was a little rushed.

Overall a great psychological thriller.
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For me,  The Child in the Photo was a good, not great, but good one. Some of the writing seemed a bit sluggishly-paced, but still an entertaining read. 

Like some work set in the UK, I found a lot of terms that I wasn’t familiar, which made it a bit awkward for me. Jumping back and forth to look them up interrupted the flow of the story. That’s simply a personal pet peeve, nothing more. 

If you had any doubt about the old adage “money is the root of all evil” this book goes a long way to shattering that skepticism.
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A woman comes home one day to find a newspaper clipping in her mail. It’s an article about a missing child cold case. The child in the photo has the same ear deformation as she does. She sets out on a mission to find out who she is.

I can’t imagine going through something like this. Hope handles the questions beautifully, not trying to upset anyone. As she learns about her past and meets new people she is a bit too trusting in my opinion but it is an innocence. If you like family books and finding out who your family really is, you will love this book.
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From the moment I picked this book up, I was drawn into the story and didn't want to put it down. It tells the story of Hope. She's faced some difficulties in her life, but seems to have come out the other side and is doing well. When an old newspaper article is posted through her door suddenly she finds herself questioning everything that she ever believed about her life.
We follow Hope who tries to get to the bottom of the truth and find out who she really is. Are her parents really her parents or did something else happen when she was small? The story is exciting and there are lots of twists and turns that keep you guessing. I did see some of the twists coming, but there was plenty there that I didn't. I have read similar storylines before, but this was a fresh take on the idea and it worked well. I couldn't help but feel for Hope and the position that she finds herself in.
This was a great read and one that I really enjoyed, polishing it off in just over a day.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Thank you NetGalley and Bookouture for a copy of "The Child In The Photo" in exchange for my honest review. 

I always look forward to new books from Kerry Wilkinson as I know they will be a great read. This book was no different. It grabbed my attention from the first page and with each new revelation, I just kept wanting to turn the pages. The story takes place starting on a Friday and ends on the following Sunday. In that time - just a little over a week - Hope Taylor's life is turned upside down. 

Hope finds a newspaper clipping in the mail of an article from 34 years ago about a missing 6 month old baby named Jane Craven. Jane's photo was taken 34 years ago and Hope is 34 years old. She starts wondering who sent the clip and what it has to do with her. There is no address on the envelope, no stamps - so someone had to have hand-delivered it and shoved it through the mail slot. What starts her wondering is the baby in the photo is missing the top part of her ear and Hope is missing the same part of her ear. 

Hope was in an accident years earlier and had her leg amputated and she uses a prosthetic leg. She received a payment from the grocery chain that the truck belonged to which had hit her. With her money Jane set up the Creator's Club where twice a week young people can come to take different arts & crafts classes. She runs the club with her best friend Stephen. She tries to help one student in particular named Oliver whose mother is not happy that Hope "lent" Oliver colouring pencils and a pad of paper. She doesn't believe in charity but Hope honestly thought she was helping someone that she believed had talent and should have the advantages to pursue it. 

As the story progresses Hope seems to acquire more and more relatives and very few answers. She learns that there were other babies that went missing in the same area that Jane Craven did. A woman named Nikki and her boyfriend had a baby but they appear to have "sold" two babies. How? A young woman named Stella comes into Hope's life and Stephen is immediately suspicious as to her motives. Everything always starts with one small lie. 

There is a master plan in the works that Hope doesn't realize at first. Stella - whom she had invited to stay with her after telling her that she had nowhere to live - all of a sudden is sporting a hairdo that is identical to Hope's. Then when there is what appears to be a burglary at her home pieces start to fall into place and the lies start to unravel. The ending is very hopeful that things will turn out for Hope, Stephen and even Oliver. 

I highly recommend this book and I'll be eagerly awaiting what the next book Kerry Wilkinson writes is about.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book "The Child in the Photo" and all opinions expressed are my own.  This was an interesting story. I liked following along to see what would happen next. It started off slow and picked up. Quick read.
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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book for an honest review.

One day Hope receives an envelope in the post with a photograph of a missing baby . Who are Hope’s real parents . This photograph will turn Hope’s life upside down and she will question where she came from and in what circumstances. This is  a good read full of twists and turns. 4 stars
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By the book cover and the title was so not what i expected but i really enjoyed it. I can't believe that this is the first time i finished a book in 2 days. Its definitely a page turner. 

Hope Taylor lived a normal life with her loving parents. Until one day her life flipped. She receive a plain envalope with a newspaper article in it that says a baby was stolen 34 years ago. Hope notices the child's has the same disfigurement as her in the photo. Hope believes she is the baby girl in the photo and desperate to find out the truth. She starts to question who is the parents who raised her her entire life? Is her whole life a lie? "ALL THE BEST LIES ARE BASED ON TRUTH"

This is really a good psychological mystery that grabbed me from the begnning. It has some twist along the way that i just cant stop turning the page. Kept me thinking what could happen next. And i like Hope's bestfriend, Stephen, he is really entertaining.

I like the writing style and I really enjoy it. I would recommend it if you would like an easy and fast read.

Publication date: 14 June 2021

Thanks to @netgalley @bookouture for this adavance digital copy.
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All the best lies are based on truth.

I always look forward to Kerry Wilkinson's books despite a couple of them not quite hitting the mark in the past. So upon reading the premise for his latest offering I had high hopes for it and yet THE CHILD IN THE PHOTO was not what I was so much better! I loved it and was thrilled to see Kerry back with a fast pace and a totally intriguing and addictive plot.

Arriving home one day, 34 year old Hope Taylor discovers a hand-delivered envelope containing only her name printed on the front and an aged newspaper clipping inside detailing a stolen baby from her mother's car some three decades ago. Perusing the article, Hope ponders why this has been slipped through her mailbox...until she takes a closer look at the pixellated photo. The child has an identical and unique physical characteristic to herself. So rare it could only mean one thing...the child in the photo is her.

Unable to make any sense of it, Hope confronts her mother who denies all knowledge reiterating the memories and the love they shared together. Her mum says all the right things but Hope can't let it go. Then the following day when she finds her mother burning papers in the back garden, Hope is immediately suspicious particularly when she has a perfectly good shredder to destroy any sensitive information. What is it that her mother didn't want her to discover? What is she hiding? Could the past 34 years of her life have been a lie?

When Hope shares her concerns with her best friend Stephen he surprises her by suggesting they make the two hour drive to meet the woman, Penny Craven, whose daughter was stolen all those years ago. But when they arrive at the pub where she works they discover that it is her day off. So instead they venture around the place to where the child was taken from but so much has changed in thirty four years they soon doubt they'll find anything of use. However, Hope returns the following day and meets Penny who upon recognising the ear deformity is immediately convinced that Hope is her stolen baby, Jane. Although she sympathises with the woman, Hope is unsure how she feels about this turn of events, particularly when Penny continues to call her Jane - a name that feels strange to her.

Upon returning home, Hope receives a desperate phone call from Stephen who had gone to meet date and fell victim to a cruel gay bashing instead. He is battered and bruised with cracked ribs and a concussion that could have been a whole lot worse but angrily grumbles when Hope insists they call the police. In dealing with his anger about the attack, Stephen seeks Hope's advice on how she dealt with her own anger after the tragic accident that left her with a partially amputated leg.

Then Hope returns home to a visitor who brings an even bigger surprise. Recognising her immediately as the woman in the red coat, Hope wonders why she has been following her. Is she the one who put the clipping through her letterbox? Does she know the truth about what happened? And, if so, why is she seeking her out now? Stephen is at once wary especially when he discovers Hope has invited the woman, Stella, to stay. They know nothing about this woman except that she is covered in bruises and claims to know who abducted the child in the photo. But what does she know really? And is she who she says she is? Or is it all just an elaborate lie?

Just when you thought you knew where the story is going, Kerry throws in twist after twist that propels you into a whole other universe, leaving you questioning what you thought you knew. The plot is so entirely engaging I simply could not put the book down and I feel that this has got to be one of the best books Kerry Wilkinson has delivered. It was everything I expected and so much more.

I thoroughly enjoyed the relationship between Hope and her bestie Stephen. Their banter is reminiscent of that which my husband and I share with one of our friends and it really adds another dimension to each of the characters. I loved their dialogue and they complemented each other well.

There are so few characters in this story and yet there is so much to it that adds such a complexity to it all. Hope and Stephen are pretty much the main characters with Stella joining them to share the spotlight. And although we meet Hope's mum Barbara, Penny, Stella's mum Nikki, the only other one to shine brighter than most is Hope's adorable elderly next door neighbour Mr Bonner who keeps a close fatherly eye out on her. He was sweet and adorable and I just loved him.

Another aspect that I loved in THE CHILD IN THE PHOTO was that Kerry drew on some of his past stories by linking them through the towns which featured in this one. Hope grew up in Elwood where her mother still lived in her childhood home and she made mention in her narrative about the only thing to happen there was a hit and run in which a child was killed the year before. That immediately rang a bell and upon investigation discovered that the reference was indeed made to Kerry's past thriller "The Child Across the Street" . When Hope mentioned she now lived in Macklebury, that too rung a bell as being the town in which Wilkinson's previous book "The Blame",/b> was set. But when Stoneridge was also alluded to with a teenager who disappeared and returned a decade or so later, I recalled the very first book I read of Kerry's "The Girl Who Came Back" set in that very town. All localised places featured in this book are cleverly linked to previous thrillers. I thought that a clever touch.

Compelling and suspense-filled, THE CHILD IN THE PHOTO is very definitely a quick and easy read with a thoroughly addictive plot. Although the "truth" is alluded to very early on, the mystery deepens into complexities cleverly woven in intricate detail. I thoroughly enjoyed the build-up, the layering and the tension that took place throughout, as well as the quick short chapters I love, that I think this is by far one of Kerry's best yet!

The only thing I found irritating was the reference to "the bad thing" which to me sounded a little amateurish. Yet when revealed it was nothing to be ashamed of so found that reference to be a little pointless. But it was only such a very small aspect of the book that it wasn't worth detracting any stars from my rating.

Whether she is Hope or Jane, THE CHILD IN THE PHOTO is a definite page-turner with an addictive plot from beginning to end.

I would like to thank #KerryWilkinson, #NetGalley and #Bookouture for an ARC of #TheChildInThePhoto in exchange for an honest review.
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Someone put a newspaper cutting from years ago about a stolen kid through her door. Something tells her that that stolen kid from the newspaper is actually her. She doesn’t know where to start looking for answers, who to trust, and who to confront.

Kerry Wilkinson has quickly become one of my favorite authors, I’ve only just started reading his books, and I want to seek out and read them all. Gripping, fast-paced, and super interesting, very on-brand really. I really like how his stories are straightforward, and no fuss, you don’t have to work all your brain cells to keep track of hundreds of characters and multiple plot lines! I just love his books, can’t put them down, and this was no different. The thing I like best is that there are simply no plot holes in this one, there were so many points where I thought this was just going to be ignored and not answered at all, but I just loved how even the smallest of the questions were answered, all actions well explained, and all emotions beautifully described! Did I mention I love his books?! 4.5 stars rounded off to 5.

Thanks to Netgalley, the author, and publisher for the eARC. All opinions are my own.
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This book shocked me!!! I couldn’t finish it fast enough because I needed answers!!! I stare at the newspaper article about a baby snatched from the back of a car thirty years ago, and wonder why someone would post it through my door. Looking closer, my blood freezes. The little girl in the photo has an unusual scar – just like mine. I’ve never met anyone with one like it. Is this stolen child… me?

Trembling with shock, I know I have to confront my mother. My parents got me through a horrific accident, helped me find a job I love teaching art, and even with buying my own house. But was it all built on lies?

She tells me the day I was born was the best day of her life, and I’m flooded with guilt for questioning her – but why do I catch her burning papers in the garden the next day?

Then I come home to find a woman sitting on my doorstep, covered in bruises and claiming she knows who abducted me. I don’t know if I can trust her – or if I’ll be the next to get hurt.

Because all the while, I’ve been hiding my own secret. Does whoever sent the article know what really happened the day of my accident? Desperate for the truth, I break into the house of my supposed kidnapper. Inside, I find a handwritten list of names. A shiver goes down my spine as I realise wasn’t the only child to be stolen.

Then I hear a key in the lock, and I know my life is in terrible danger…
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This story was a gripping page turner, that I read in one sitting. The story hooks you from the very beginning and keeps the pace until the very end. It’s such an intriguing and interesting story with a cast of characters that will have you questioning and second guessing what you are reading. I honestly really enjoyed it. It was the first time I’ve read this author and won’t be the last.

So why not 5 stars? I honestly wanted to give this story full 5 stars, but couldn’t, because the ending was so abrupt, that I went back and few times to check I hadn’t missed something. There was just so many things I wanted to know and storyline left to go! An extended epilogue would be greatly appreciated if this story is updated at some point. But beside that minor issue, the storyline is a great one and this particular story is resolved for the most part. Read it, you won’t be disappointed. 

Thank you to the Author, Bookouture and NetGalley for the chance to read, review and give my unbiased opinion of a complimentary digital ARC.
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My Review:

Another great read by one of my favorite authors. I finished it in just 2 days. Each chapter kept me wanting more and I could not put it down for the life of me. Kerry Wilkinson sure did not disappoint. 

I want to start off by saying that I loved this book. I have read many books by this author and he sure knows how to deliver a great book. I knew I had to read this book as soon as I read the blurb. If you ever read my reviews you know I’m as sucker for a good child kidnapping story. This one really intrigued me because the child that was taken found out about it as an adult. That definitely took the story in a whole different direction. Now on to the characters. All the characters were right for the book as far as I was concerned. I especially loved the best friend to the main character. Everyone could use a friend like him. He was so kind, caring and loyal. Ok now on to the end. The ending of a book is always my favorite part. I thought this ending was mediocre. Normally, Kerry Wilkinson delivers an explosive, twisty end but not this time. I was waiting for the bang the whole book but never got it. This is the reason why I’m going to deduct one star off my rating. However, the end did not take away from the book as a whole. I still loved it and would recommend it to everyone. Thank you Kerry Wilkinson for another great read. I will be reading more of your books in the future. 

Between the plot, characters and all the twists in this book it made it an easy and fast read. I would definitely recommend it and happily give it 4 Hearts❤️❤️❤️❤️.
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I received this book from the publishers via Netgalley for a review. A photo of a baby starts this excellent book with plenty of twists.
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This is Kerry Wilkinson at his very best. I am a fan of this author and usually like all his novels but this one is certainly on his top 5, maybe 3.

It's a fast-paced thriller that succeeds both at never letting the reader want to stop reading and at being well written, with great dialogues and beautifully built characters.

The plot evolves in a way that all threads are followed and solved without loose ends or far fetched solutions. I absolutely recommend this book.

I'd like to thank NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this novel in exchange for my honest review.
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There is an almost indefinable quality that I love about  Kerry Wilkinson's books. He has an ability to take everyday experiences that we all go through and write them in a way that leaves you nodding and saying "yes!" For instance he describes how a rumor winds up on the town Facebook page, then escalates into name calling, then winds up in a story in the local newspaper.  Certainly we've all seen those flaming wars, and part of the reason Hope doesn't go to the police when she finds out about her background is because she's been in the newspaper before - and it's not a good thing.

The other thing Kerry does well is his ability to evoke our senses.  He writes about the mustiness of the newspaper clipping, and not your ordinary, everyday mustiness, but "library mustiness".  He describes the effort of trying to bring all your bags of groceries in the house in one trip, only to have a few rogue apples go rolling away. 

So what I'm trying to say is read this book!  The characters are well developed, the story is fascinating, and the twists and turns will give you whiplash!  I didn't want the ride to end.

Thanks to NetGalley and Bookouture for an advance reader's copy for review.
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This is so good.  Kerry Wilkinson never fails to deliver, whether it’s his brilliant Jessica Daniel series or, like this, another excellent stand a lone.  A clever, unusual plot that will keep you turning the pages.
Someone posts an old newspaper cutting about a snatched baby through Hope’s letterbox.  A baby with a small deformity to it’s ear, an ear just like Hope’s, and so begins this great  twisty tale.
The characters are real, the emotions raw and the plot a belter. This would make a brilliant TV drama series. “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive”
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Hope is stunned when somebody posts an old newspaper clipping about a kidnapping through her door. Slowly, she comes to the realisation that it’s her. But who took her, and why? 

I did enjoy this book but I found it hard to believe that nobody went to the police. Even if Hope herself didn’t want to SURELY her biological mother would? And if there was so much news coverage when baby Jane was taken why didn’t Hope’s parents query why their baby had the same defect as this stolen one? There were just a few too many holes for me and I really disliked the abrupt ending. 

I did enjoy the story, but I’ve read something similar (The Face on the Milk Carton) and actually, that was far better done, albeit as a Young Adult novel. I’d read more by this author as I liked her writing style, but this wasn’t the story for me. Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my copy of this book.
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