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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.5 out of 5
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  • Sinister, well-crafted read

    Having previously really enjoyed J P Delaney’s ‘The Perfect Wife’ I was excited to get approved for the ARC for ‘Playing Nice’. Whereas The Perfect Wife was more a sci-fi thriller this is a lot more of a domestic, psychological thriller and it really shows off the author’s range. It’s an interesting and terrifying premise – a family get a knock at the door to tell them that the child that they have been parenting for 2.5 years doesn’t biologically belong to them due to a mix-up at the hospital. What I really enjoyed about this book was just how well everything was planned out by the author. It’s paced so well - everything is revealed slowly with the stakes getting just a little higher each time. There’s a sinister undertone to book even from the initial few chapters and it pulls you in to wanting to find out more – I finished the book in just two sittings. It’s also nicely researched and nothing felt over the top of out of the realms of realism. The book is narrated in alternate chapters between parents Pete and Maddie. They both have secrets to keep and a lot of these are not revealed to the reader until further in the plot-line which makes them both feel like unreliable narrators at times. As there are only two narrators you really get a chance to get to know them and they feel well-rounded and grounded in reality. The ending of the book has a nice mini-twist and it really is a satisfying ending for a stand-alone thriller – it doesn’t wrap up everything in a nice bow but leaves you with enough to not need more but to keep you thinking about it long after you put it down. Overall Playing Nice is a great psychological thriller which is nicely plotted, well paced and has some seriously sinister undertones – highly recommended. Thank you to NetGalley & Quercus Books for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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    10 person found this review helpful

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  • Amazing & Dynamic

    JP Delaney's latest book is an exciting and engrossing family drama and psychological thriller combo that probes into the emotional complexities of a dilemma facing a couple in London who discover that their two year old son is not theirs. He was mixed up with their actual biological baby at the hospital. Pete Riley and his partner, Maddie, are bringing up their son, Theo, trying to get him to play nice and interact more, which are problematic areas for Theo. But when Miles Lambert informs them that Theo is actually the son of Miles and his wife Lucy, Pete and Maddie's whole life is upended. Pete and Maddie are determined to keep their family safe, whatever it takes. Delaney's character driven novel is a compelling read that I revelled in from the very start. The characters are flawed, but are created and developed well by J.P. Delaney, and all have great parts to play within the overall plot, though Miles is particularly deplorable. This rollercoaster story incorporates a titillating cocktail of themes, including secrets, parenting, deception, abuse, mental health concerns, legal issues, and abuse amongst others. With its variety of twists and turns my interest never wavered and I read Playing Nice in one sitting. Very highly recommended. I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Quercus Books via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

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    1 person found this review helpful

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  • Interesting

    I loved the book. Initially, I felt it was building up slow, but once I got into the story. I loved it. The kids swap was terrifying premise. The legal things were well handled.

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  • A disturbingly real plot.....

    There was nothing I didn't like about this book. From the opening pages to the surprising conclusion, it had it all! Each character was relateable, and brought together a disturbing and believable plot, with enough twists and turns to keep you reading on with bated breath. I thoroughly recommend this novel,and thank both Netgalley and the Publishers for giving me this ARC

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  • Just play at being nice

    Swapped at birth, a classic trope combines here with another, King Solomon and the disputed child. Pete, the quiet, decent stay-at-home dad to his toddler, is surprised by a couple who come to his door claiming that he has their son. They're an attractive, friendly couple. Though shocked, Pete and his partner agree to resolve the situation between them rather than go to court. So begins a nightmare, and the prospect of total loss. The story begins with a shock, and ratchets up the tension, alternating the narration between Pete and his partner. Pete's fundamental niceness cannot contend with a relentless enemy. The couple's values, loyalties, even their relationship, are threatened as they become his victims. We get a rip-roaring read, even if the plot lines sometimes stretch credulity. The author deals well with post-natal breakdown, the difficulties of parenting, the adversarial nature and intransigence of the British justice system, and the devastating impact of a psychopath on a compliant society. Gripping. Unputdownable.

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