“Annie remembered his cramming schoolbooks into his bag and a last bite of toast into his mouth. She had hovered briefly at the front door to watch as he set off at a half run, mounting his father’s old bicycle as he went. Later she was to bitterly regret how distracted she had been. Perhaps she might have borne it all a little better, she said, if she had only thought to bestow a farewell kiss, or an affectionate last word. Instead, she had rather mechanically called after him to take care on the road – to which he’d responded with a brief roll of the eyes, before turning the corner and vanishing from our lives.”
Deceptions by Rebecca Frayn
Told from Julian’s perspective, this is a story of how the disappearance of a young boy affects his family and how easy it is to fall into traps and deceptions just as long as it makes life easier to withstand. Annie and Julian have recently become engaged and for Annie this seems like the perfect way to move on with their lives.
Her children lost their father at a very young age and while Julian can still work on building a better relationship with her son, Dan, he does have a good relationship with her daughter. All seems to be going well until one day Dan doesn’t come home from school. At first Annie thinks he may have been spending time with friends but as the daylight hours turn to dark and no call or message from Dan the family knows something is not right.
Immediately the police and news crews arrive and a flurry of activity is buzzing all in an effort to bring Dan home. Hours turn to days and so on but no sign of Dan. Suspicion falls on Julian, doubts form in Annie’s mind but there is no conclusion. Dan has simply vanished until one day years later Annie gets a call from Dan.
Words can’t describe the emotions going through Annie and Julian tries to prepare her to welcome home a fifteen year old boy who has been gone from their family’s side for three years but Annie doesn’t care about those missing years. She just wants her son back and her life to be back like it was. She’ll shield Dan from family, neighbors and even Julian and starts to build a life as if nothing had happened.
Slowly Julian realizes that something is very wrong but will Annie listen to him? Will she even care?
This was one of those mysteries in which despite knowing a lot up front it still doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy finding out exactly what has happened to this family. There are relationships to be explored and there is enough tension to keep the reader turning the pages to uncover the truth. Be sure to read the dedication at the end.
Source: Library copy