Friday, April 29, 2016

THE BABYSITTER by Andrew Coburn

“‘I don’t understand. I’m nobody. I’m not rich or famous or influential. I’m only a teacher. I don’t even have tenure.’”

John and Merle Wright arrive home from a movie to find the babysitter brutally murdered, and their 16-month old daughter missing. The only clue is the babysitter. Paula Aherne. A student at the local college, well-liked by the Wrights and wonderful with the baby. The investigation uncovers everything Paula told the Wrights to be a lie. She wasn’t enrolled at the school. Her childhood stories are false. And her name isn’t Paula.

The police investigation is empty, and two unscrupulous feds manipulate it for their own ends. The Wrights take matters into their own hands and start an amateurish investigation. An investigation that leads them into Paula’s past, and a lineup of unsavory characters.

The Babysitter is wholly original. Its setup is straight mystery—a murder, a kidnapping, a police investigation—but it unravels in unexpected ways. It is unsolvable by the reader and more suspense than mystery. The characters, excepting the Wrights, are secretive and frightening in a recognizable and common form. Everyone has a secret. It is nightmarishly real to a suburban audience in a bleak and satisfying manner.

The Babysitter was originally published in 1979, and it has new life with its recent Stark House Press trade paperback edition.

Purchase a copy of The Babysitter at Amazon, or directly from Stark House.

It’s another busy week so I dusted off a review originally published November 3, 2015 of Stark House’s reprint of Andrew Coburn’s excellent The Babysitter.


Anonymous said...

This sounds SO good!

Ben Boulden said...

I really liked this one.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Ben, I'd read this book in spite of the doll's resemblance to the "Child's Play" horror movies I never liked, not that I saw all of them. I enjoy reading about amateur detectives at work though, clearly, there is a lot more than that to this suspense novel.

Ben Boulden said...

Prashant. I agree, the cover is creepy. Although I think all dolls are creepy. There is a lot going on in this novel, and it is centered around the characters. It a really good book.