by Maureen Mackey

November 2004
ISBN: 1-58749-482-5
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Francie and Sam are having a difficult time adjusting to their new suburban life. Sam's new long commute to the university where he works, coupled with longer hours leaves Francie with a lot of unwanted free time and a growing chasm in their relationship. Their young daughter Savannah is flourishing in their new family oriented cul-de-sac. The novelty of having children her age right next door to play with will not soon wear off for her.

Francie's desire to get to know her neighbors becomes more insistent when a young teen leaves a newborn on her front step. Sure that the girl's choosing this neighborhood was no accident, Francie launches a very personal investigation to find the single mother and reunite her with her daughter. Francie had been powerless to stop the authorities from taking the baby to child protective services, but she will not rest until she's found the very confused teen. It becomes more evident as Francie's investigations continues that this unknown mother may be in mortal danger.

Francie finds, during the course of her sleuthing, that all is not as it seems and more than one of her neighbors harbors a secret. Which secret is worth murder to keep?

I have to admit, Cry Baby Cry didn't grab me at first. I put this book down for about a week and had to force myself to pick it back up again. I am more than glad that I did. The slow start not withstanding, Cry Baby Cry is a riveting mystery with an unusual cast of characters with a variety of reasons to harm the girl, perhaps kill her. The infertile couple who rage against the injustice of young parents that are ill equipped to raise a child that comes so easily to them seems a good place to start. The fanatic Christians next door throw suspicion on the witch across the street. These and many more make up the list of suspects that Francie needs to work through.

Unfortunately as this is my first Francie and Sam book, Sam did not win any points with me. He was distant and somewhat condescending for most of this book. I understand from Francie's memories that he isn't always like this, still I expect this first impression to color my interpretation of Sam when I read the previous two books in this series. I do plan to get those books, Francie is a strong decisive character with absolutely no violent tendencies (which has not been the case with recent strong female characters). She uses her brain to triumph over evil, so to speak. Plus, Savannah is enchanting and I want the chance to watch her grow.

Reviewed in May 2005 by Jodi.

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