Title : Bye Bye Baby
Author : Lauren Crow
Publisher : Harper Collins Australia
Date Published : August 2007
ISBN : 0732284457
Sub- Genre : Psychological Thriller
A brutal tale of revenge that will have many readers torn between what is right and what is just is the theme of Lauren Crow’s debut thriller Bye Bye Baby. This is a psychological thriller that takes you deep into many tormented minds laying emotions bare in confronting fashion. Crow also does a tremendous job of allowing us to identify fully with her characters, whether they be good or bad, allowing us to decide on our feelings towards them.
A despicable crime was committed 30 years ago, schoolyard bullying was taken to a much more dangerous level than normal and lives were changed beyond repair as a result. Now those responsible must pay…and the price is their lives.
The deep wound that he and the others had inflicted upon me all those years ago had only pretended to heal. Beneath the scab of the new life I’d built, the injury had festered.
The first body was found in Lincolnshire. The man had been drugged with Rohypnol, stabbed in the chest and then been emasculated and had his lips cut off before his face was daubed with blue paint. It was a very distinctive murder. So when the second body turned up in another part of the country with the same distinctive MO, the police quickly realise that they have a serial killer on their hands and call in Scotland Yard.
Heading the investigation is DCI Jack Hawksworth, one of the finest young detective at the Yard who is widely acknowledged as the rising star in the force. Blessed with good looks he backs it up with a strong temperament and a personality that encourages a fierce loyalty in his subordinates. He puts together a strong team of detectives, among them is DI Karen Carter, a particularly sharp and insightful investigator in her own right.
The investigation progresses apace and while it does we are given first hand insight into why Jack has been promoted to DCI at such a young age. We also learn of the admiration that Karen Carter has for her boss, an admiration that goes beyond the professional. It’s something that Hawksworth is unaware of but, for the engaged Detective Inspector, it’s a distraction that impinges on her concentration and decision making ability. (It’s pretty obvious from early on that her feelings will become important later in the story). The tensions and emotions that develop throughout the book are finely handled by the author making them an important part in the development of the plot.
An unusual feature of the book is that we become closely acquainted to the killer and, at times, feel as though we can readily identify with the emotions that are displayed. You can even be forgiven for asking yourself whether you wouldn’t be tempted to do the same thing if you were put in a similar situation, making this a very involving book.
Lauren Crow writes with great maturity and style. The story contains a series of plot twists but she chooses not to draw them out for unreasonable lengths of time, instead she uses them to progress the story to its next level. I found that by the time I realised where I was being led, my suspicions were quickly confirmed and we were moving on.
Only occasionally did the dialogue deteriorate although when it did, it did so in jarringly obvious fashion. The most noticeable occasion occurred when a father was talking to his son and said, “I beseech you, son.” Beseech? In my 40 years on this earth I can’t say that I have ever heard a single person actually use that word in conversation. This minor negative can be easily overlooked, however.
Bye Bye Baby is more confronting than your average psychological thriller and Crow's detailed character analysis ensures that this is also more than a simple police procedural mystery. The story satisfies on many levels, the well-ordered investigation, Jack Hawksworth’s barely in control personal life, and the need of the killer to continue seeking revenge. There is a tangible deadline set from early on and everything leads inexorably to that point.
With any luck this is the first book in a series to feature DCI Jack Hawksworth and DI Karen Carter. Their relationship is far from what you might expect and he is the kind of character who begs to be continually discovered.