Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing by Gabrielle Lord

Hodder Headline Australia

532 pages

4/5 stars

Baby did a Bad Bad Thing is primarily the story of Gemma Lincoln, an ex-cop who now runs her own private investigating firm, and the issues she faces morally, mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically by doing so.

When Gemma takes on what appears to be a straight surveillance job (a man suspects his wife is cheating on him and requires proof either way) she is grateful for an ‘easy’ straight up and down job and believes she can knock it over in a matter of hours, if not days. A considerable relief to someone already handling a heavy work load consisting of cases involving the discovery of an armed assailant who has been targeting female street workers in Kings Cross, an arson case that may have killed a wealthy business man and whose widow isn’t playing by Gemma’s rules despite having hired Gemma herself. With an influx of disturbing emails, the constant threat to her boyfriend Steve’s life and his possibly betrayal whilst working undercover in drug lord territory, Gemma’s life is about to get a whole lot more complicated and crazy, and that’s before someone takes out a personal vendetta against her and seeks to destroy her very livelihood. All in all it appears that Gemma may have taken on more than even she can handle.

Despite getting off to a very slow start and almost giving up on the narrative, I grew throughout the course of the novel to appreciate Lord’s talent as both a writer, and a story teller – how she could remember all those story lines was beyond me and for a while I feared she would not be able to pull it all together in order to give the reader a satisfactory ending. So you can imagine my surprise when after a hundred pages or so of the narrative I find myself not only utterly addicted to the story and unable to put it down, but so utterly invested in the characters lives and going ons that I was irrationally yelling at the pages (in my head naturally) to hurry up, not because of pacing issues anymore, but because I couldn’t wait any longer to find out how things were going to be resolved. I was desperate at times to know if Steve was going to live and if Gemma was going to be able to find her cyber stalker before it was too late. In hindsight, I feel as though the slow start may have been caused by Lord’s insistence of withholding information until absolutely necessary. While I understand that this was necessary for pacing and the story as a whole to work, it runs the danger of losing readers right from the beginning. I cannot tell you how many times in the earlier aspects of the narrative that I went to pick up the book only to put it down and find something else to do. All that said, perseverance does pay off with this one, and you will be pleasantly surprised with the number of twists and turns that Lord takes you down. After all Lincoln discovers fairly quickly that nothing and no one is who or what they seem.

I highly recommend this book to fans of the crime genre, and for those stumbling upon it not to be discouraged by the slow start and the fact that it is book number two in series. I haven’t read the first one and although I do intend to get a hold of a copy now, I don’t think that affected my reading and understanding of the narrative as a whole.

An enjoyable read that is sure to have you sitting on the edge of your seats as the narrative unfolds.

Read as part of the Australia Women’s Writers Challenge 2013 (AWW)

 

This review originally appeared on Goodreads on January 21, 2013 and can be found here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/488388282

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