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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Better Mother

ISBN: 9781837562268

Publisher: Inkubator Books

Publication Date: 10/22/2023 Format: e-book

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

Zoe just wanted to help. Now she may have a killer in her home.

Zoe is happily married to Ethan until the day a 13-year-old boy shows up on their doorstep. He says his name is Micah and that Ethan is his father. Distressed because his mother is missing, Micah has come to them for help.

Ethan is wary – he didn’t know anything about Micah - but kind-hearted Zoe feels she can’t possibly turn her back on the boy. She welcomes him into their home and does her best to make him part of the family.

But there’s something off about Micah.

He lies constantly, creeps silently around the house and towers over Zoe, observing her every move. And his growing bond with Anna, Zoe’s young daughter, feels all wrong.

So when his mother's body is found and the police start looking for the murderer, Zoe realizes something terrible…

He might already be in her home.

The Better Mother – the stunning psychological thriller from the best-selling author of Her Husband’s Secret.

My Review

The queen of revenge plots, Emily Shiner (favorite author), returns following The Wife in the Photo and The Hotel with her sixteenth novel, THE BETTER MOTHER. Unsettling and darkly sublime, the author deftly explores twisted family dynamics and devastating secrets in suburbia.

Zoe (stay-at-home mom), Ethan (Dr.) Steele and their preschool daughter, Anna, are happy and a seemingly perfect family. What could go wrong? Then, her husband gets a late-night phone call. Wrong number, he says.

Then, a thirteen-year-old boy, Micah, shows up at their door. He says he is Ethan's son. He looks like him. He informs them his biological mother, Rita, is a drug addict and has gone missing. Zoe is compassionate and invites him into their home.

He soon begins to call her mom and constantly looks at her; she finds photos of herself on his computer before he moves into their home. Was he stalking her? Will she be a better mother than the one he has now?

Strange things begin happening, and she is not sure she likes him spending so much time with Anna.

Then, on the news, his mother, Rita, is found dead. Is Micah a killer? Who has she invited into their home? She finds clues. Ethan says they do not know what terrible things he has lived through.

Ethan can protect Micah, but the only one Zoe is protecting is Anna. She must get Micah out of their house and prove he killed Rita, his biological mother.

However, nothing is as it appears. What happened to Rita, and who is the murderer? Is Micah innocent? Will he be her savior or her killer?

Shiner keeps the reader in suspense throughout with a final jaw-dropping twist with an exploration of nature vs. nurture. A domestic suspense that peels back the veneer of suburban perfection to expose the decay beneath.

THE BETTER MOTHER entertains and chills! This twisty, addictively thrilling domestic suspense novel about a perfect family’s perfect façade will keep you turning pages until its explosive ending. I highly recommend Emily Shiner's books!

Thanks to Inkubator Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest opinion.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 4.5 Stars rounded to 5

Pub Date: Oct 22, 2023

Emily Shiner Books

About the Author

Emily Shiner grew up in Western North Carolina, and after going to college in Charlotte, returned to her beloved mountains to write novels that keep you up at night. She lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, menagerie of chickens, and tens of thousands of bees. When not writing, she’s reading, hiking, or drinking copious amounts of tea while daydreaming about fall. WEBSITE

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