I couldn t put this down From the first page I was immediately enthralled and needed to know what happened next This was so fast paced and the situation was so unique This is one of the most unique thrillers I ve ever read Y all Hang on, I m gonna say that again but louder.Y ALL I just finished an ARC of J.P DELANEY s PLAYING NICE I needNo, I demand that y all stop reading this review and take your happy little fingers over to the retail website of your choice and PRE ORDER THIS BOOK Right now It doesn t release until July, but that s irrelevant Pre order it now so you won t forget Off you go Meet me back here when you get done Shoo Are ya back Has it been ordered Okay, now you can continue reading Imagine that two years ago you had a baby It s love at first sight, right Now, imagine how much that love has grown over the last two years Then, imagine that someone knocks on your door and tells you that there was a mix up at the hospital, and you find out that the child you re raising isn t really yours How would you feel What would you want to do Would you fight to keep the child you ve come to know and love, or would you fight to switch the children back so you d have custody of your actual biological child Is there a third option that you d consider That s the story of this book at least, that s how it starts Don t blink, or you ll miss the moment when a family drama turns into quite the mysterious thriller The story is told mainly from the perspective of the mother and father of the first child, but there is another perspective, and that perspective hints that there is muchgoing on than meets the eye This book is bloody brilliant It ll grab your attention on the first page, and then it will incrementally increase the tension until you find yourself forgetting to breathe If you re reading this review prior to July 28, 2020, I really hope you followed my advice and pre ordered it If you re reading this review after its release date, what are you waiting for Go Buy Read Happy reading Hello, friends Meet my first 5 star stunner of 2020 I ve had a few 4.5 star reads which I ve rounded up, but Playing Nice has become the understated hit of my reading season thus far I confess, after The Perfect Wife, a story of which I was NOT a fan, I honestly didn t have high hopes going in However, since I really enjoyed The Girl Before, I was absolutely willing to give J.P Delaney another shot I m so glad I did This book is everything I never knew I wanted Swapped baby stories are such a clich , but Playing Nice is so muchThis is a story about mental illness, addiction, abuse, murder, lies, betrayal, the law, and most importantly, it covers just how far parents are willing to go to protect the child they love, despite the multitude of nightmarish scenarios facing them It s a total roller coaster ride My emotions were all over the place It s terrifying and addicting.I had to force myself to stop reading last night I ve had an incredibly busy day, and it s made me totally grouchy because all I could think about was getting back to this book Any of you who know me, and have read my reviews for awhile, know I m not one to gushbut I am so gushing right now Just do yourself a favor and read it Available July 28, 2020Many thanks to the publisher for my review copy. J.P.Delaney and I didn t always get along, in fact his first few books I found to be about as mediocre as popular thrillers get and then he went and wrote The Perfect Wife, which was freaking excellent, almost as if written by another person altogether Which is to say, the second I found his latest on Netgalley, I made a request Just had to find out for myself what he does next, if the quality holds up and so on And Delaney managed to surprise me yet again by switching gears completely Which is to say Playing Nice is actually not exactly a thriller It has all the right elements such as split narrative and a prerequisite twist of two in the end, but otherwise it s waysubtle than an all out thriller It sof a family drama in fact, one based on an impossible and therefore intriguing proposition what is the child you have loved and raised as your own for two years turns out to have been switched at birth with another And what if the other family, no matter how lovely and well to do they seem initially, isn t quite as decent as you might have hoped What do you do when the balance shifts, when the other party isn t being fair, when justice isn t logical and logic isn t just When do you quit playing nice That s the main question the couple in the book is faced with But, of course, there s so muchgoing on, the situation is considerablycomplex, the couples are on an infinitely different footing going in, The Lamberts are wealthy, The Rileys not technically so, since they are not married, but close enough for reviewing purposes are not Each couple has a different inner dynamic, Miles Lambert is outgoing, charming, gregarious type, his wife a pretty shadow next to him Maddie has gone through severe postpartum, but is nevertheless tougher than her partner, who as a main caretaker for the child is the milder, steadier, calming presence In fact, not just of the couple, of the entire book The man is the sort of decent conscientious person Miles Lamberts of this world tend to steamroll over It isn t just a class thing either This is about genuine psychopathy and the clever thing about it is that it actually featuresthan once in different contexts Both are pertaining to parenting, but both go a long way to contribute to the entire nature nurture debate So yeah, serious drama most of the way through and then a definitive turn into a thriller territory Because psychopaths are mostly only likeable when they get their way and if they don t all bets are off SO what you have is a high stakes morality play Interesting story, makes you think, Delaney s done some clever things with the plot, but mainly it s just really emotionally engaging, surprisingly so for a somewhat hyperbolic soap operatic sort of concept.For me, though, it grabbed my interest enough to maintain it the uncharacteristically long time not at all the book s fault, just timing it took to finish it Loved the ending too, nicely done Not quite as smart of a book as The Perfect Wife, but really quite good in its own right Recommended Thanks Netgalley. Confession time I read 99% of my ARC DRCs in order by publication date All my March reviews are complete and April s will be done before April Fools Day So why only 99% Because of books like Playing Nice by J P Delaney I first discovered this author when I read and loved The Girl Before and my Kindle was burning up in my hand knowing that this July release was downloaded and not patiently waiting to be next So I stayed up too late and read this as fast as I could absorb what was going on.Pete and Maddie lead a pretty uneventful life Not without their share of difficulties, but, they have a son, Theo, born prematurely, and after many ups and downs, they are settling in as a family Imagine Pete s horror when Miles and his lawyer show up claiming that Theo is his son, inadvertently switched at birth Yep, this gives a whole new meaning to having a bad day Miles and Lucy have been raising Pete and Maddie s biological son, David, and the question is, what do these parents do now As you might imagine, these couples are very different, each with their ideas of what it means to be a good parent After the shock subsides, it seems they might be able to agree to do what is best for the boys Of course, first impressions can be quite deceiving and I don t think I would be giving anything away by saying this does not end well for everyone.Twists, turns, and what just happened moments abound Nothing that I wouldn t expect from J.P Delaney Play Nice publishes in July and all I can say is that this would be an excellentbeach read 4.5 stars. Pete and Maddie had a difficult birth Their son, Theo, was born prematurely, and they didn t know if he would have any brain damaged later on in life Lucky for them, he turned out fine One unfortunate day, Miles and Lucy Lambert showed up at Pete s house announcing that Theo was their son The boys were switch at birth The couples decided to keep Theo and David routine and home life as normal as possible However, there was something weird going on with Miles He s not the happy go lucky, successful man he presented himself to be There s also the question of who switched the boys Was it the hospital fault or someone did it deliberately Right off the bat, Miles can be view as a psychopath Lucy is a submissive person in that controlling marriage The real question is who done it As much as Pete and Maddie want to get to know their son, David The whole story was told around Theo I think David should have been in the storyas he was in the center of that evil home with a father that knows he s not his biological son As a psychopath, Miles didn t just go after Pete, Maddie and Theo, but he should also want to go after David in order to hurt Pete and Maddie Time after times Pete and Maddie argee that they want to get to know David and rescue him from the Lambert and yet they have very little interaction with David The whole story they interacted with David one time That was a huge gap to the story There was no following through It was very one sided with the boys The ending of who switched the boys made complete sense Overall it s a great mystery Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this fabulous ARC in exchange for an honest review. I admit it I love discovering a new novel by J P Delaney, who is one of my new favorite writers Playing Nice is a study in psychological abuse It begins when Pete Riley discovers a stranger named Miles Lambert at his front door Miles promptly informs Pete that their baby boys, who were born very prematurely at a private hospital were switched at birth The boys are now two, so Pete and his partner Maddie and Miles and his wife Lucy need to decide how to handle the situation Everything starts out amicably, but of course this is a J P Delaney novel, so you know that things are going to quickly spiral out of control They do, and thus begins the nightmare that becomes Pete and Maddie s daily lives.I m not a parent, but Delaney is such a gifted storyteller that I could feel every sensation that Pete and Maddie were going through I was hooked from page one to the very last page, and as usual with Delaney, I couldn t put this book down I finished it in a day and a half It was absolutely addictive Many thanks to Netgalley and Random House for providing a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review Playing Nice will be published on July 28, 2020, and I highly recommend it to all readers of suspense thrillers. A Gripping New Psychological Thriller From The Bestselling Author Of The Girl BeforeHow Far Would You Go To Protect Your Family 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 AgainThe 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 SafeThey Are Done Playing Nice Thank you NetGalley for an advanced copy of Playing Nice OH MY GOD I hated this book so much, I loved it I m sure you are asking yourself, what What does that even mean Well let me tell you this book made me so angry at so many points that I was reading like a mad woman just to get past the HORRIBLE things that were happening, and hopefully get to the happy ending Pete and Maddie are happily minding their own business when Miles knocks on their door He s discovered that while in the NICU two years ago, Pete and Maddie s son Theo was swapped with Miles and Lucy s son David At first the families try to become friends and make amicable decisions in regards to how they are going to deal with this unusual situation, until Miles starts to play dirty and I mean dirty with a big capital D I hated this characterthan I think any other character in any book I ve ever read He is the worst type of person I read so fast waiting to see if he was going to get what was coming to him and I won t spoil anything by telling you if he does or notYou ll have to read for yourself and let me tell you, you won t regret picking up this book Thanks to Netgalley and Random House for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review Pete and Maddie have their world turned upside down when a stranger, Miles, knocks on their door with DNA proof that the 2 year old boy they have raised from from birth is actually the biological child of he and his wife Lucy and he and Lucy are raising the biological child of Pete and Maddie Apparently there was a switch when the premature babies were transported from a private hospital to an NHS facility 4.5 starsJ.P Delaney is a great writer and comes up with some really thought provoking novels This one definitely held my interest because even as a childless person I had to ask myself how I would deal with such an awful situation I am giving it 4.5 instead of 5 because although there were crime and thriller elements they didn t come into play until a little later in the book Regardless of that, still a worthwhile page turner and I feel fortunate to have received advance copies of all his books I hope it continues
J P Delaney is the pseudonym of a writer who has previously published best selling fiction under another name.
- Playing Nice
- J.P. Delaney
- 24 May 2018 J.P. Delaney