Somebody's Daughter By David Bell
The Second Time Around
It had been over a decade since Michael had laid eyes on his ex wife, Erica. Now here she was interrupting dinner on his doorstep demanding that he help her. The words didn't make sense, her daughter was missing. Your daughter, Erica had told him. But she hadn't been pregnant at the end of their marriage in David Bell's mystery thriller, Somebody's Daughter.
The story complicates fast, as Michael who was struggling to have a child with his second wife, Angela, is suddenly urged into action at the possibility that this child that Erica is speaking of is actually his daughter that he was never informed about. Erica says there is a music teacher that she feels pays too much attention to the child, Felicity and the mother is quick to name her suspect. Erica says that she has called the police but it had only been a matter of hours and she knew the race to get her child back safely was closing its window as the night fell.
With no choice, Michael tells Angela that he must leave with Erica and confront the man, entertaining the possibility that he may be a father.
The words are a icy danger in Angela's heart as he drives away. Feeling abandoned she makes calls to Lynn, the older musician sister of Michael who has left behind the rock and roll lifestyle after overcoming ovarian cancer.
Lynn sounds as if she believes in Michael's decision to make sure the child was safe, especially if it was possibly his.
Michael's family knows the tragedy of losing a young child and it has changed them all.
Racing into the dark night, Michael is letting his emotions be his compass. He is angry with Erica if she had given birth to a child and never told him. He has no reason to believe her, but from the moment she set the picture of Felicity into his hands, he feels drawn to her. Erica plants the seeds that she looks so much like Robyn, the younger sibling that died in a terrible accident when Michael was a child and should have been watching his younger sisters and the guilt never left him.
The Teacher's Pet
Felicity may have looked like the tragic angel, Robyn but her musical talent could have only come from her aunt Lynn, the rock star.
Her music teacher noticed talent in the young child immediately and she took to several voice lessons a week. While her budding talent became more pronounced, Erica started to feel uncomfortable about the dedication of the male teacher towards his student and when Felicity went missing from a park that morning, the teacher Mr. Tolliver topped the list of people that Erica had warned the police about.
The police had found nothing suspicious about the man but Erica had convinced Michael to do their own investigation inside the man's home and taking him as a prisoner. Convinced that he had nothing for them, they finally relented when Tolliver was about to get away from the pair after his abduction.
Angela was tired of waiting at home and doing her own investigation, finding an old boyfriend of Erica's that was convinced that he was the father of the child and more concerned about the trouble that she could have been fallen into.
The boyfriend knew of the complaints to CPS about Erica leaving Felicity alone and even asking a friend from work with an husband later convinced of child pornography if they wanted to take the child off her hands for awhile; the ex boyfriend was convinced that she was just an overworked single mother. Since the relationship between himself and Erica had failed and the grandmother had passed away, an occasional babysitter was called in but that wasn't always a solution. He believed that Erica would never hurt this child. His child.
Angela also talks to her mother in law, astonished to find that the woman has been communicating with Erica in the background for some months.
The police have their own revelation as they find out from an old neighbor, Erica had a miscarriage just before the divorce, and an infant had gone missing around the same time as Erica mysteriously moved out of the neighborhood.
A family nearby had a missing daughter, around the same age as Felicity about the time that Erica had moved away. A neighbor remembers Erica having a miscarriage and presses the police that there is no way that the missing child isn't the one that Erica later reported missing, although the neighbor can not state the reason for her ten years of silence about a kidnapping.
Interviewing the old coworker of Erica and her ex husband, the police do uncover a box of photographs that the man had taken of children playing in the neighborhood- one looking very much like a recent picture of Felicity. Without warning, the pedophile kills himself in front of the police.
The babysitter says that she last remembers the music teacher coming around a few days before Felicity went missing saying that the teacher had a woman in the car. They were concerned that the child has missed a week of classes and no one could get a hold of Erica.
They drove off without any information.
The police wonder if Felicity had suspected that she was kidnapped and had taken off on her own in search for her family.
Nothing was adding up in the case.
All that was for sure was a young blond girl had been left in a car that morning after Erica had an argument about not wanting her to get her ears pierced at such a young age. Erica had locked her in the car and took the family dog for a lap around the park. On return, Felicity was gone.
Angela finds that Michael has had online correspondence with Erica and then changed the passwords on the computer.
Michael's family knows more than they would ever let on.
With two possible fathers in the picture, Erica turns away the request to get an DNA test. Once for the ex boyfriend who had been in the picture for years and considered the girl his own daughter to the point of even requesting visitation after the breakup. The other was from the ex mother in law of Erica after the single mother had approached her asking for money to get some medical test done for her daughter. After spending money and some visits, Michael's mother had demanded confirmation.
The Flowers' Family
The Flowers' family had never given up hope of seeing their baby again after she was taken out of their apartment while the mother had lain down the baby in the crib and went to take a shower.
It happened so fast.
No evidence was ever found and soon the police had given up the investigation.
On a tip from the neighbor, the police were back in the picture. The young girl that had been taken from the park was around the same age as the child that they hadn't seen in a decade.
Mrs. Flowers admits that she remembered an odd woman that seemed to be stalking her and taking an unhealthy interest in the baby when she came across them at the park. It wasn't long after that the child went missing from her apartment.
Planting the seed, the Flowers' family takes it upon themselves to confront Erica and find her and Michael, brutalizing both in the interrogation.
Michael can not believe his ears. This phantom of a girl he has been chasing all night may not be his child.
Erica pleads with him. She explains she had never taken a child but after the miscarriage she didn't tell him about she was obsessed with the idea of having a child and maybe paid too much attention to children she say in public.
She swore that she was the mother of Felicity although the paternity wavered now between the boyfriend and Michael, but her ex husband was still willing to see it through.
Finding out that his mother and sister had both had interactions with Erica and Felicity and had never told him; Michael begins to wonder who exactly is running the true con after all.
Home Of Broken Dreams
Robyn had been Daddy's girl and it ate at Lynn.
While their father didn't have anything against his older daughter, he didn't understand her obsession with music and related much easier to the tomboyish nature of Robyn who loved to run and climb.
Lynn remembers the bitter fight she had with Robyn about who was their father's favorite just before her death.
Lynn hadn't meant to do it. It was a childish thing.
But there was Robyn again, showing off as she climbed on top of the swing set poles like a gymnast and Lynn couldn't fight throwing the football at her and hoping that she would fall.
Robyn broke her neck in the tumble.
Lynn had been haunted with the guilt all these years and was never able to out run the fear of what she had done to the family.
Lynn had to know if this was Michael's child and if Erica wasn't going to allow for it willingly, there had to be a way to get Michael to take the test before Erica knew.
Lynn hadn't wanted to do it but Felicity looked so much like Robyn she couldn't take the chance of losing her as well.
Lynn would pay for the kidnapping.
As Michael and Angela follow the clues to the old family home on the lake where Robyn had died, Michael finds Felicity, safe but cut up from a car accident that Lynn had had fleeing the scene.
While Michael feels pity for his sister, his understands her loyalty and wanting to protect him even if it had ruined her life in the process.
He knew that they both had to do this because of Robyn's memory.
Felicity is returned home and Erica allows for her father to be in her life.
Somebody's Daughter is a fantastic mystery that keeps you guessing until the reveal in the last chapter. I had no idea how many suspects were a red herring until the final reveal of someone that you would have not believed had taken part in the kidnapping and for what reasons.
The show leak of more and more about the accident with Robyn fuels the motivation and when you realize that it was Lynn you feel sorry for the woman rather than angry.
David Bell aptly named this novel as you really have no idea who's daughter Felicity is until the very last few pages. Very well written, this fast paced novel is for anyone that likes thrillers and mystery.