An estranged father’s weekend with his beloved five-year-old daughter turns into a nightmare when she gets into the lift of a city centre tower block and goes down without him. She vanishes without a trace. It sets off a race against time, and a nationwide manhunt, to find her. As the police investigation closes in, suspicion falls on those closest to her – with devastating consequences. Daddy Dearest is a terrifying story of love, obsession and psychological meltdown.
I was sent a copy of Daddy Dearest by the author, Paul Southern, in exchange for an honest review. I’m always drawn to psychological thrillers and the description immediately grabbed me.
The book is narrated by the missing girl’s father, and his name is never mentioned (as far as I remember), adding to the mystery surrounding him. He is a man who struggles with some psychological issues, including OCD, but he clearly loves his daughter dearly and lives for the weekends when she comes to stay with him. However, one weekend, everything goes wrong. She gets into the lift without him and vanishes.
When the police start to investigate the clues point in varied directions and suspicion falls on some of ‘Daddy’s’ neighbours. Meanwhile, Daddy is struggling to cope, and deal with the emotions of his ex wife, while carrying out investigations of his own in the basement of the flats.
I can’t really say much more without giving the story away, but it was very well written. The protagonist is characterised very well, leaving you with conflicted feelings about him. Every chapter ended on a cliffhanger, so I stayed up later than I should most nights because I found it hard to stop reading (I blame Paul Southern for my sleepiness in lectures the past few days!). If I hadn’t had lectures and exams to study for I probably would have finished the book in one sitting.
Daddy Dearest is a gripping psychological thriller, with clever manipulations of your emotions towards the main character. In my opinion, it is much better than some of the books of the same genre that are raved about (The Girl on the Train, for example) and deserves to become more well known. I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a dark and twisted read which grips you from the start.
She was my star, the something brighter that entered my firmament. But the same inexorable cycle was repeating itself and I found myself already looking over my shoulder, into the sky, for the moment when I saw her tail vanishing over the horizon.