Playing Dead, By Julia Heaberlin

A Texan thriller-by-numbers that doesn't quite hit the spot

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The Independent Culture

Tommie McCloud is a Texan girl, the heir to a ranch, and her day job is helping traumatised kids with horse therapy. Shortly after her father's death she receives a letter telling her that she was kidnapped as a baby; her real father is a Mafia criminal in prison and her real mother would like to meet her.

It's a great set-up, and the story unfolds with all of the complications and false leads and bursts of danger and brooding atmospherics one expects of a detective thriller. I'm not sure why it didn't work for me. It seemed a bit too faithful to the blueprint of the Chandleresque thriller, with its tough-but-tender hero; it reads almost like a parody of the genre.