cover image The Boy in the Photo

The Boy in the Photo

Nicole Trope. Grand Central, $12.99 trade paperback (304p) ISBN 978-1-5387-5434-4

Six years after Megan Kade’s abusive ex-husband, Greg Stanthorpe, steals their six-year-old son, Daniel, from school and disappears in this exceptional psychological thriller from Australian author Trope (The Nowhere Girl), the boy reappears at a New South Wales police station, reporting that his father has died in a fire in the shack where they had been living together. Though Daniel comes home with Megan and her second husband, Michael Kade, the detective on the missing child case, Megan’s hopes for a joyful reunion are quickly replaced by a difficult process of readjustment as Daniel’s volatility and reticence about connecting is amplified by the effects of psychological damage Daniel experienced in isolation, the extreme gaslighting Greg did about Megan’s intentions, and Daniel’s feelings of having been replaced by a new baby. Flashbacks to both Megan and Daniel’s stories in their six years apart, which highlight both their grief and the warped impressions each has of the other, lay the groundwork for a twist ending that forces the reader into suddenly reevaluating both perspectives. Trope pulls no punches in this tightly wound, emotionally harrowing story of parental abduction and the unhappy collision of hope with reality. Agent: Kathryn Taussig, Bookouture. (June)