Welcome to my stop on the exciting CHILD TAKEN blog tour. I’m thrilled to be involved so a big thankyou to the wonderful Red Door books for the opportunity and for my arc copy…


‘Are you lost, sweetheart?’

Sitting in the kitchen, the last thing the man expects his wife to bring back when she ‘popped to the shops’ is a young child…

They should have taken her back, faced the consequences…

done the right thing. But what happens when that innocent child instantly begins to mend a broken wife, and fix all that seems unfixable? Its not quite so easy now.

Twenty years later, another missing child, a lucky interview and the curiosity of a story- hungry journalist throws up questions about what really happened to Jessica Preston when she disappeared from that beach all those years ago. When the journalist comes across someone with as exert from their past, it threatens to reveal what’s been covered up for so long.


Child taken is believe it or not a debut novel, and a stunning one at that. It is the story of two children abducted decades apart.Although the later missing child is quickly found,the event is the catalyst that brings a previous crime back into people consciousness and as questions resurface it  opens a can of worms and reveals secrets that threaten to blow lives and relationships apart.

The story is told by different characters perspectives and it gives an interesting spin on the narrative, and is also told in a past, present and future tense so although never confusing ( due to its cleverly orchestrated plot and the authors ability to write), it is very interesting. Helping us to gain a deeper insight into their emotions and allowing us, as the reader to feel really connected with the characters on a deeper level, and to become emotionally involved with each of them. The two opening pages are told by the man whose wife abducted the little girl from the beach and the mother of the child, which I though was a genius and had me emotionally involved from that first moment . I felt I was able to empathise with each one of those involved for different reasons. Although I would never condone child abduction and what they did was wrong no matter what the circumstances , it did show us that good people make bad choices and that these can spiral so quickly out of control it’s almost impossible to put the wrong right. And that these far reaching and devastating events have lifelong implications for everyone involved.

It deals with a emotionally charged  subject very sensitively but without shying away from the hard truths and the raw emotions entangled with the crime of child abduction, loss, heartbreak. What makes this read so engaging is that we get the perspective of those who did the abducting, witness the  emotional aftermath and the implications that are still unfolding two decades later, from both sides.  It makes for a very thought provoking, harrowing and emotive read. But as is always the case nothing is straightforward and there are some shocking events and some unexpected twists and turns. ( Chapter three had me gasping for breath I was so shocked by the event that in essence kicks off the storyline of Dani and her family.

I don’t want to spoil the read so I am always careful about over viewing the story-arc which should unfold for the reader without any prior knowledge, I don’t believe as a reviewer I should tell you important parts of the story that’s for the author to do and that’s why you buy the book! but… In essence the disappearance of a second little girl receives more press coverage than that of the first twenty years before. When Sandra’s daughter vanished from the beach two decades earlier , many thought she had drowned but she has always believed with conviction that her daughter was abducted and is still alive somewhere. But the trauma of losing their daughter has life long repercussions for her parents which are revealed in the book.

I loved the two main protagonists- two very strong female characters- Budding journalist Laura who is looking for her big break, a way to kick start her career and prove herself to her bad tempered editor. When a second child is abducted her curiosity leads her to delve into the historic unsolved case of two year old Jessica Preston and as a result her path crosses Danni. Danni who who has recently overheard her parents arguing one night and as a result has started to question her past and starts to wonder whether she could be the child, Jesssica who went missing all those years ago..

Well written, beautifully descriptive and well observed this is a page turner in every sense. I was gripped very quickly and found it hard to tear myself away, desperate to start tying threads and reach some conclusions. If this is the calibre we are to expect from Darren Young then this very much an author to watch! He has set the bar high with CHILD TAKEN. I highly recommend.



Darren Young lives in Nottingham with his wife, Luisa and their two children, Alessio and Emilia. Away from writing, his background is in helping organisations improve their customer service, working initially in financial services and then as a consultant in the UK and Europe, He has a master s degree in business administration from The University of Wolverhampton. He’s always enjoyed writing he used to chronicle his family holidays as a child and wanted to try his hand at writing a book for a while but didn t think there was enough time in his already busy life to fit it in. Luckily, he found a sympathetic coffee shop and plenty of encouragement from those around him and he began working on Child Taken at the end of 2014 after hearing a radio news bulletin whilst in the car. The story ninety-five percent of which made the final version was complete in his head before the end of that journey. He is especially interested in how ordinary people deal with extraordinary situations that ‘could happen’ but that, thankfully, few of us ever have to face. Darren is currently writing his next novel.