Book review: The Boy That Never Was by Karen Perry

The blurb…boy

Three-year-old Dillon vanished in the middle of the night. His father Harry can’t forgive himself for not protecting his only child. Yet Harry isn’t blamed by his wife Robin: she bares her own secret guilt.

Five years later, thousands of miles away, Harry spots an eight-year-old boy in a crowd – a boy he is convinced is Dillon.

Desperate to find his missing son, Harry’s obsession tears apart his marriage, exposing shameful secrets and shattering the one thing he and Robin had left – trust.

Robin and Harry live in Tangier with their three-year old son Dillon. When tragedy strikes and Dillon disappears, the couple are nearly torn apart…. Move forward five years and the couple are still together and living in Dublin where Harry is sure he spots Dillon in a crowd…

The premise of this book is really fascinating, and I enjoyed the switch in narrators between Robin and Harry for alternating chapters. The way we found out each point of view, and started to piece together their personalities, worked really well. There is an air of mystery surrounding both of these characters, and their secrets are revealed slowly as the story progresses. I found Harry the most interesting of the two, and you could really sense his feelings of guilt and desperation over Dillon – despite the fact he is often pretty unpleasant. Robin is a bit more mysterious, but we find out more about her own secrets later in the book…

I found this story really gripping and I read it in two sittings, pretty much. You really want to find out what will happen and also I think the development of Harry’s character worked well, and although he is often not a sympathetic character I was drawn to his predicament. I also enjoyed the contract between the two settings, Morocco and Dublin.

I did find the ending of the story a bit disappointing – and one particular scene seemed far-fetched. But I often find that books that lead up to a big climax tend to end up being an anti-climax! But overall I found this well written, easy to read and intriguing.

My rating: 7 out of 10

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