The Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry is a somewhat disturbing psychological thriller if the reader can buy into the incredible stupidity and naivete of two important characters, Christopher and Hannah Bauer, the parents of an adopted child, Janie. This is a story of domestic abuse, terror, and torture both physical and psychological. The terrorist, in this case, is Janie, a child that looks two or three years old at the time of adoption. A medical examination will reveal that the Bauers have adopted a six-year-old child who is very, very disturbed. Janie had lived in a closet where she had been confined and tortured for an indeterminate number of her years by her mother, Becky. Somehow, she had escaped from the closet and was found wandering in a park. She was filthy, covered with cuts, rashes, and bruises and wore a dog collar around her neck. Janie was taken to a hospital where both the Bauers worked. Christopher, a surgeon would spend many hours in corrective surgery followed by a lot of time spent at Janie’s bedside. Eventually, Chris would introduce Janie to Hannah, a nurse in the same hospital. Janie had a crush on or was in love with Dr. Bauer and could only sleep when Christopher was around. Christopher was completely taken in by Janie’s displays of trust and affection. Janie did not care for Hannah and was clearly hostile to Christopher’s wife.
I liked the Table of Contents (TOC) for When I’m Gone by Emily Bleeker. Suspense is built right away as parts of the novel have differing numbers of chapters. The parts go from January to August. March and May have only two chapters; the final part, August, has nine chapters. It is going to be a very busy August. Already impressed by the TOC, there is an impressive twist on pages two and three of Part One, January, Chapter One. What a resounding start!