Julie Maloney – A Matter of Chance

A Debut Novel

This is every readers chance to be in on the ground floor of what promises to be a great writing career.
 
I knew when I got this book that it was the debut book of a fascinating woman, Julie Maloney, who is the founder of Women Reading Aloud, a nonprofit that supports women on their journeys to grow as writers. Obviously all that listening to women writers had the desired effect. A Matter of Chance is unique in its complicated plot and fascinating characters. 
 
I found myself saying, "But of course, she's so talented in so many ways, why should it surprise me that she has written a brilliant first novel!" 
 
Julie Maloney one of those rare renaissance personalities who is good at so many things. She a former dancer, choreographer and artistic director of the Julie Maloney Dance Company in New York City. She created an ongoing writing series -- “Writing to Heal” -- at a major hospital outside of NYC.  That would be more than enough for lots of people, but she is also a published poet -- which is one of the reasons, no doubt, that her writing is so clear, so lyrical.
 

After all the years of helping writers find their voice, it is wonderful that Julie has found hers with a great debut thriller about the disappearance of an 8-year-old girl’s disappearance from a New Jersey shore town. 
 
This is not a simple book -- there are plot-thickening twists of chance that makes Maddy Stewart's search for her daughter compelling and frightening. Even when everyone around her tells her that it is all over. That she should accept that Vinni is gone. That she must give up.
 
But the story isn't resolved so quickly.  There is no body. For a mother, that is hope. There is the knowledge deep inside her that her daughter is alive.  The story takes us through the five heartbreaking and soul searching years. Is Maddy just another mother not ready to face facts? Is her daughter dead? Or is Vinni alive and waiting to be found? 
 
Maddy ignores the advice of Detective John D’Orfini to let the police handle things. She ignores the FBI. She ignores threats. She ignores her best friend. She ignores her ex-husband. For her there is only one thought: find Vinni. 
 
I particularly enjoyed the peak into the international art world as Maddy's neighbor, Evelyn, draws Maddy back into the her love of painting.  I always love a story where there are multiple layers -- this is a gripping thriller, but it is also a touching story of the mysterious and important mother and child bond. It is a story of faith and of never giving up hope. It is an intense read of bravery in the face of danger.
 
This is debut novel that gives us a chance to just sit back and smile with satisfaction: We have found a new favorite author.
 
 

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