Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page

Red Leaves

Thomas H. Cook

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Quercus

Published : 2007

Copyright : Thomas H. Cook 2005

ISBN-10 : PB 1-84724-027-5
ISBN-13 : PB 978-1847240279

Publisher's Write-Up

The babysitter was the last person to see 8-year-old Amy before she disappeared. The babysitter is your 15-year-old son. He says he doesn't know what happened. Do you absolutely trust him?

In this affecting crime novel, shortlisted for both the Edgar and the Duncan Lawrie Dagger, Eric Moore watches his safe, solid world disintegrate. When eight-year-old Amy Giordano disappears from her family's house, while Keith, Eric's teenage son, is babysitting, Keith becomes an obvious suspect, and even his parents have misgivings.

As time passes without Amy being found, a corrosive suspicion seeps into every aspect of Eric's life. That suspicion is fed by Eric's shaky family history - a father whose plans failed, an alcoholic older brother, a younger sister who died aged seven and a mother driven to suicide. Not even Eric's loving wife, Meredith, is immune from his doubts as he begins to examine and re-examine every aspect of his life. The totally unexpected resolution is both shocking and perfectly apt.

'A terrific piece of work.'


'A brilliant description of how a seemingly perfect life can fall apart all because of one phone call. Outstanding.'

Independent on Sunday

'Red Leaves is one of the best novels you'll read this year - gripping, beautifully written, surprising and devastating.'

Harlan Coben
Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Ben Macnair (310316) Rating (8/10)

Review by Ben Macnair
Rating 8/10
Red Leaves is a crime novel that looks at the repercussions of the crime, as much as it does the crime itself. Eric Moore has it all, a happy marriage to a loving and successful wife, Meredith, a stable, caring teenage son, a thriving business in a quiet town, the only negative aspect of Eric’s life is his troubled brother, Warren, a loner who lives by a school. As always happens in a book like this, his life is about to change in all manner of ways.

His son Keith has been baby-sitting for the neighbouring family, the Giordano’s, the night before their 8 year old daughter goes missing. Keith becomes a chief suspect in the case, even though it is completely out of character, and he proclaims his innocence.

Eric has to do everything for his son, find him a lawyer, protect him from the neighbours, who suspect his involvement, protect him from the town who no longer trusts the family, see his business suffering, he suspects his wife of an affair, and as the book develops, and there is less evidence to support Keith’s innocence than there is to support his guilt, Eric even begins to suspect his son in the disappearance.

Throughout this, the writing style of the book become increasingly claustrophobic, the focus becomes increasingly smaller, until new meanings are bought on Keith’s behaviour. Is he only reacting as a normal teenager would, or are his angry outbursts hiding his guilt? Is Meredith having an affair, with all of the time she is spending at the university? Is she only avoiding the tension and inevitable arguments? Why is Warren behaving as he is?

Eventually, Keith has his memory piqued by a Pizza delivery boy, which leads to the discovery of Amy, alive and as well as can be expected, this is only after the tragic turn of event at the end of the novel, with Eric’s life completely destroyed.

We are left, at the end of the novel, with Eric explaining to a now adult Amy, the events of the summer that changed their lives completely.

This is a fine novel, full of good, stylish writing, characters that are believable and sympathetic, and it shows the devastating effects that suspicion and a lack of trust can have in both families, and the wider community.
Ben Macnair (31st March 2016)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends