Sometimes when I start a book I sort of have an inkling of how it is going to end; this is the same with movies and TV shows, my mom always found it odd I could predicate the ending. I could see to many coincidences adding up with the book to be able to believe that the baby was actually missing. Little Face begins with a first time mother who left her child for the first time for a short afternoon outing at the local health club. She comes home to find that the baby her husband had been watching is not the baby she brought home from the hospital. That is where the name Little Face begins. The book switches back and forth from the present day investigation of Alice and Little Face missing versus when Alice reported her daughter missing and the police did not believe her. Alice is convinced that her daughter has been kidnapped and another baby put in it’s place. David her husband is now convinced that his wife is crazy. Vivienne, David’s mother puts up the face that she believes that Alice is crazy, but towards the end of the book Alice points out that Vivienne is not sure what to believe with the baby. The book follows the investigation of both cases, Alice trying to prove the baby is not Florence and rather Little Face and then the detectives trying to find both Alice and the baby.
During the book Sophie Hannah works on developing each character's personalities and they really shine through the book. Alice is a homeopath who has lost both of her parents and really took to Vivienne as a mother figure who showed her warmth and guidance in the beginning something that Alice was missing in her life. In the beginning it does feel if Alice did really enjoy Vivienne and things did not change until they moved into the Elms and she got pregnant. Alice throughout the time the baby is missing keeps to her character while in the house, playing the naive mother who really believes that her daughter is missing. David’s character is a little harder to follow in the story, he seems to have been bullied by his mother for so long that he doesn’t know anything else besides that. David shows that he wants to get control of Alice by degrading her and doing things that would make his mother see Alice as crazy. I feel this is the only way David knows how to express himself since his mother has taken so much control of his life. Vivienne seems off from the beginning, she seems very controlling and the issues can be seen when she is forcing Alice to do things with the baby that she does not want to do. Vivienne has also taken full control of David’s first child Felix from his dead wife Lauren.
One of the things that I did enjoy in the book is how Sophie Hannah developed the character of Lauren who was deceased. She uses a playback of Lauren visiting Alice before she was killed giving an insight into Lauren knowing that David and Vivienne are dangerous, as well as giving her a warning to be careful. Also, after Simon goes to visit Darryl Beer who knows a lot about Lauren’s life work and aspirations you can see she was a very educated women who had her priorities in order, so her changing her mind so abruptly about Vivienne becomes very uncharacteristic.
I feel where the book lost me on the actual missing child was a small detail that I believe could have been left out; when all the pictures taken from the hospital where deleted. That was the moment I knew Alice was involved. I had two theories after this small detail was given either Alice actually did swap the babies with another one or it was the same baby.
I was not able to put it down once the story really took off of getting close to finding out who really did kill Lauren, which came to me as the bigger mystery. I feel like the last few chapters of why Alice took off where sort of redundant and just showing that Simon was a good detective. I liked when Sophie Hannah would have Simon just say that he knew where Alice was, but not reveal details until further on in the novel. It helped develop Simon as a strong detective.
Overall I enjoyed Little Face, it was a fast read since you wanted to know what actually happened to the baby and who killed Lauren. I feel I was more interested in learning who killed Lauren since I was pretty sure the baby was the same baby after the pictures all being deleted was revealed. The character developed helped to keep the book moving along. I don’t believe there was a lot of suspense until Vivienne and Alice were together in the pool discussing how Vivienne killed Lauren. The mystery was more in who killed Lauren to me. Also, the David and Alice scenes of him abusing her seemed to lead me to believe he was somehow involved in Lauren’s murder, until his computer password was Lauren than that was solved as well in my mind.
I would read this on a vacation, it is a quick read and involves some mystery. I would probably not reread this book and would move reading more Sophie Hannah mysteries down my every growing book list since I was able to see the ending coming.
My rating 3/5
Author website http://www.sophiehannah.com/
Publisher Penguin Group
Book Series Number #1 in the Simon Waterhouse/Charlie Zailer series