The Foster Family by Nicole Trope is a very highly recommended domestic psychological thriller.
Elizabeth and Howard are foster parents for five-year-old Joe when
he disappears from their front yard. The police are called in and the
search begins. It becomes clear almost immediately to readers that
Howard is not who he is trying to portray and Elizabeth as well as Joe
are totally scared of him and under his control. Joe is a sweet little
boy who just wants to watch the birds across the street from their
summer rental at Gordon's house. Howard, however, governs them with and
iron fist. He controls both Elizabeth and Joe. He doesn't accept anyone
questioning his authority.
Gordon is a good hearted elderly man living across the street. He
knows there is something wrong and Joe could be in trouble, but his
memory isn't as good as it used to be. In an alternate story line we
follow a man who found a brutally beaten young woman sitting on a bench
when a man finds her and wants to call for help. She begs him not to,
but agrees to allow him to take her home to recover.
The characters are all well-developed. They have and have depth and
are portrayed as realistic individuals. This is what will pull you in
and completely engulf you in the plot and the characters.
The writing is excellent and, admittedly, Trope will control your emotions like a virtuoso throughout. This is one of those novels that completely dominates you. You'll switch between being upset, emotional, angry, and crying quite quickly between chapters. I was also thoroughly aware that Trope was playing with my emotions and controlling them. Yeah, I accepted it and went with the flow. Chapters switch between different points-of-view. Most of the story is from Elizabeth's and Gordon's point-of-view.