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The Unheard    by Nicci French order for
by Nicci French
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2021 (2021)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've long enjoyed mysteries by the husband and wife writing team of Nicci Gerrard and Sean French (Nicci French) for their unique premises and unusual plots. They deliver both again in The Unheard.

Tess Moreau is very protective of her three-year-old daughter Poppy, perhaps overly so. She's been a single mother since Poppy's father, Jason, left her and married the younger Emily. However, they've been careful to remain on good terms and avoid conflict affecting their relationship with Poppy.

As the story opens, Poppy returns from a week-end with her dad and behaves oddly. She shows Tess her drawings, the last a dark one of a woman falling from a tower - Poppy says 'He did kill her ... Kill and kill and kill.' This would worry any parent, but Jason says nothing happened and their doctor suggests Poppy's been affected by their separation.

As Poppy's behavior and bedwetting worsens, Tess consults a psychotherapist, Alex, who feels that Poppy might have witnessed something - but what? Tess goes to the police, but DI Kelly Jordan sees no need to investigate. Tess starts to learn more about her ex's relationships, and the plot thickens.

Tess learns about a woman who did fall from a tower block, and starts digging hard for evidence. A murder follows. Many suspect that Tess is becoming unhinged, including the police. Jason threatens to seek sole custody of Poppy. The tension escalates to a stunning conclusion, when only Tess can save herself - and her daughter.

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