Category Archives: JP Delaney

Review: Playing Nice by JP Delaney

Title: Playing Nice by JP Delaney
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Domestic Thriller
Length: 416 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


What if you found out that your family isn’t yours at all? How far would you go to protect them? A gripping new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of The Girl Before. . . .

Pete Riley answers the door one morning and lets in a parent’s worst nightmare. On his doorstep is Miles Lambert, a stranger who breaks the devastating news that Pete’s son, Theo, isn’t actually his son—he is the Lamberts’, switched at birth by an understaffed hospital while their real son was sent home with Miles and his wife, Lucy. For Pete, his partner Maddie, and the little boy they’ve been raising for the past two years, life will never be the same again.

The two families, reeling from the shock, take comfort in shared good intentions, eagerly entwining their very different lives in the hope of becoming one unconventional modern family. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an official investigation that unearths some disturbing questions about the night their children were switched. How much can they trust the other parents—or even each other? What secrets are hidden behind the Lamberts’ glossy front door? Stretched to the breaking point, Pete and Maddie discover they will each stop at nothing to keep their family safe.

They are done playing nice.


Playing Nice by JP Delaney is an absolutely riveting novel that is breathtakingly suspenseful.

Pete Riley is a devoted stay at home dad to two year old Theo. His partner Maddie Wilson works long hours at an advertising agency.  Young Theo is full of energy and Pete has his hands full trying to convince him to be kinder to his nursery mates.  Having completely recovered from the tumultuous early days and weeks of Theo’s premature delivery, Pete and Maddie’s world is upended when a stranger shows up and announces Theo is his child. Two premature babies were somehow switched at the NICU and Miles Lambert and his wife Lucy are raising Pete and Maddie’s son David.  Believing they can peacefully resolve this complicated situation, the two families begin spending time together.   But Pete and Maddie are stunned when Miles takes extraordinary steps that could destroy the life they have created together. Will they be able to stop him before they lose everything?

Pete is a warm and loving dad who is very patient with his impulsive and active little boy.  Although he never planned to give up his career for fatherhood, he is happy with their current arrangement. A former journalist with a newspaper, Pete is disappointed he has not managed to get his freelance career off the ground.

Pete and Maddie have very different personalities but she is content to let him make the decisions regarding their son.  She loves Theo but she thrives on her high stress career.  Maddie is not as trusting or even keeled as Pete, so she has a few reservations as they try to  work out a compromise with Miles and Lucy. When Miles changes tactics, will she and Pete find a way to keep their family together?

With chapters alternating between Maddie and Pete’s points of view, Playing Nice is a taut domestic thriller that is multi-layered and utterly compelling.  The storyline is well-developed and rife with tension as Miles steadily insinuates himself into Theo’s life.  With pressure building as the story hurtles to an uncertain finish,  JP Delaney masterfully brings this gripping story to an edge of the seat, stunning conclusion. A deliciously unpredictable novel that I loved and highly recommend.

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Review: The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney

Title: The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Science Fiction, Mystery
Length: 412 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


The perfect life. The perfect love. The perfect lie. From the bestselling author of The Girl Beforecomes a gripping new psychological thriller. . . .

“Dynamic, razor-sharp, and thought-provoking . . . a cutting-edge suspense novel unlike any you’ve read before.”—Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl

Abbie awakens in a daze with no memory of who she is or how she landed in this unsettling condition. The man by her side claims to be her husband. He’s a titan of the tech world, the founder of one of Silicon Valley’s most innovative start-ups. He tells Abbie that she is a gifted artist, an avid surfer, a loving mother to their young son, and the perfect wife. He says she had a terrible accident five years ago and that, through a huge technological breakthrough, she has been brought back from the abyss.

She is a miracle of science.

But as Abbie pieces together memories of her marriage, she begins questioning her husband’s motives—and his version of events. Can she trust him when he says he wants them to be together forever? And what really happened to Abbie half a decade ago?

Beware the man who calls you . . .



The Perfect Wife by JP Delaney is a mesmerizing novel that is part science fiction,  part mystery and completely enthralling.  Confession time: I am not a sci fi fan but I ABSOLUTELY LOVED this domestic mystery.

Tim Scott is a Silicon Valley billionaire whose tech company works primarily with designing robots to interact with the public in various ways. He is socially awkward, works long hours and sets impossibly high standards for his employees.  His workers are taken aback and rather surprised when he announces Abbie Cullen is going to be an artist in residence for the next several months.  Abbie is a breath of fresh air who does not hesitate to challenge Tim’s ideas and beliefs.  Despite their differences, Tim and Abbie eventually marry and have a son, Danny.  Their happiness is marred when four year old Danny is diagnosed with Heller’s syndrome and  Abbie and Tim have very differing opinions on how to best help their son.

Fast forward five years and Abbie wakes up from an accident to discover she is a technological marvel. Although parts of her life are now confusing, she is still devoted to Danny and she wants to be an active part of his life.  Abbie is still in love with Tim but she is beginning to sense that there is much more to her husband than meets the eye. Can she completely trust his version of events about what happened to her five years ago? Abbie is becoming desperate for answers but what will she do once she uncovers the truth?

Unfolding from two distinct points of view, The Perfect Wife is a very clever mystery with a completely ingenious storyline.  Abbie’s perspective is written in second person which is unique yet very effective. Other chapters flashback to the past and are narrated by anonymous employees who  provide very interesting information about Tim and Abbie.  With the suspense building as Abbie gets closer to the truth, JP Delaney  brings this brilliant novel to a breathtaking, twist-filled conclusion that is quite stunning.  An utterly fascinating read that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend!!!

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Filed under Ballantine Books, Contemporary, JP Delaney, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Sci Fi, The Perfect Wife

Review: Believe Me by JP Delaney

Title: Believe Me by JP Delaney
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


In this twisty psychological thriller from the New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Before, an actress plays both sides of a murder investigation.

A struggling actor, a Brit in America without a green card, Claire needs work and money to survive. Then she gets both. But nothing like she expected.

Claire agrees to become a decoy for a firm of divorce lawyers. Hired to entrap straying husbands, she must catch them on tape with their seductive propositions.

The rules? Never hit on the mark directly. Make it clear you’re available, but he has to proposition you, not the other way around. The firm is after evidence, not coercion. The innocent have nothing to hide.

Then the game changes.

When the wife of one of Claire’s targets is violently murdered, the cops are sure the husband is to blame. Desperate to catch him before he kills again, they enlist Claire to lure him into a confession.

Claire can do this. She’s brilliant at assuming a voice and an identity. For a woman who’s mastered the art of manipulation, how difficult could it be to tempt a killer into a trap?

But who is the decoy . . . and who is the prey?


Believe Me by JP Delaney is a fast-paced, riveting murder mystery that is full of shocking twists and turns.

Claire Wright is a British citizen studying acting in the US but without a green card, her employment options are limited. Employed by a local lawyer, she works as bait to try to get evidence for wives who believe their husbands are cheating on them. Current client Stella Fogler is hoping Claire will find evidence against her husband, Patrick. Claire is rather intrigued by the college professor who is obsessed with poet Baudelaire, but to her dismay, he rebuffs her advances.  Claire eventually ends up the midst of a murder investigation when Detective Frank Durban and forensic psychologist Kathryn Latham use her immigration status against her. How far will Claire go to catch a sadistic murderer?

Claire is an exceptionally talented actress who brings plenty of baggage across the pond to study her craft in New York. Growing up in foster care, she craves love and acceptance and she tries to find it through her career and meaningless one night stands. Claire has a habit of viewing her life as a stage production and readers might have a bit of difficulty connecting with the story when this narration style is utilized.

Claire is fascinated by Detective Durban’s and Dr. Latham’s proposition to use her to catch a suspected serial killer. She completely immerses herself in her new “role” and she approaches the investigation with a no holds barred attitude. Claire wavers back and forth on whether the target is guilty or innocent of the crimes and she is willing to take whatever risks are needed to see the investigation through to the end.

Believe Me is an unusual yet creative mystery that is quite suspenseful.  Claire is a somewhat unreliable narrator who does not let scruples  prevent her from doing whatever necessary for her survival. The premise is intriguing but unrealistic and readers will have to suspend disbelief as the story continues to unfold. However, JP Delaney makes it worthwhile with the stunning plot twists and revelations that are revealed as this captivating mystery comes to a completely unanticipated conclusion.

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Review: The Girl Before by JP Delaney

Title: The Girl Before by JP Delaney
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Please make a list of every possession you consider essential to your life.

The request seems odd, even intrusive—and for the two women who answer, the consequences are devastating.

Reeling from a traumatic break-in, Emma wants a new place to live. But none of the apartments she sees are affordable or feel safe. Until One Folgate Street. The house is an architectural masterpiece: a minimalist design of pale stone, plate glass, and soaring ceilings. But there are rules. The enigmatic architect who designed the house retains full control: no books, no throw pillows, no photos or clutter or personal effects of any kind. The space is intended to transform its occupant—and it does.

After a personal tragedy, Jane needs a fresh start. When she finds One Folgate Street she is instantly drawn to the space—and to its aloof but seductive creator. Moving in, Jane soon learns about the untimely death of the home’s previous tenant, a woman similar to Jane in age and appearance. As Jane tries to untangle truth from lies, she unwittingly follows the same patterns, makes the same choices, crosses paths with the same people, and experiences the same terror, as the girl before.


With an unusual but clever storyline, The Girl Before by JP Delaney is a suspense-laden psychological mystery.

Renowned architect Edward Monkford is very picky about whom he allows to rent his house and none of his property managers have been able to figure out why some make the cut while others don’t. Two of his renters, Emma Matthews and Jane Cavendish, could not be more different but they share one thing in common: both are willing to put up with an extensive list of rules to live in his ultramodern “smart” house. Both experienced rather traumatic events before moving into the property and while Jane has no problem with the strict rules, Emma struggles to adhere to even the simplest directive. Yet both women catch Edward’s eye and as Jane soon discovers, there is quite a bit of mystery surrounding Emma’s unfortunate death whilst living in the home.

Emma moves into the property with her boyfriend Simon after a terrifying incident in their former residence.Emma is a little flighty yet men are drawn to the outgoing, sparkling young woman. After moving into the new rental property, Emma is somewhat transformed by the minimalist space and she begins to understand herself better. Ending her relationship with Simon is the first step in changing the direction of her life and she quickly becomes involved with Edward.  But as she is discovering new and unexpected about herself, Emma’s past is about to collide with her present and she is soon on a collision course with disaster.

Jane is much more organized and focused than the much younger Emma.  However, after a heartbreaking loss, she unexpectedly finds herself starting over in a new career while trying to recover from the tragedy.  Jane has no problem complying with the various restrictions that Edward demands of his tenants and she thrives in her new environment.  She is quite  intrigued by her landlord and she is surprisingly open to exploring their unexpected attraction.

The Girl Before is written in an unusual format with both women narrating their time living in Edward’s house.  Jane’s part of the storyline is in the present while Emma’s is dubbed “before”.  Their experiences as Edward’s lover are eerily similar but while Emma embraces all aspects of their relationship, Jane has no trouble telling him what she likes and does not like. 

Since Jane is trying to get to the bottom of what happened to Emma, she reaches out to some of the people from Emma’s life, including her ex-boyfriend, Simon.  Can Jane trust Simon’s version of events?  How will Edward react to her efforts to uncover the truth?  Will Jane emerge unscathed as she continues to try to understand what happened to Emma?

The Girl Before is a riveting mystery with a shocking array of unexpected twists and turns. The tension builds to a fever pitch as both Emma and Jane become more deeply involved with their über controlling landlord. JP Delaney brings the novel to an absolutely stunning conclusion as Jane discovers the truth about what happened Emma.  All in all, a very imaginative novel that will completely capture readers’ attention  from beginning to end!

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Filed under Ballantine Books, Contemporary, JP Delaney, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, The Girl Before