Publication Date: 8th January 2013
Book Source: Mysterious Press & NetGalley
Synopsis: Dinah Whitcomb has everything: a loving husband and a smart young son named Robbie. Then one day their world is shattered when Robbie is abducted from a parking lot and Dinah is run over by the kidnapper’s van, mangling her body nearly beyond repair. The kidnapper, a reverend named Chester Cash, aka Daddy Love, has for years abducted, tortured, and raped young boys. Daddy Love renames Robbie as ‘Gideon,’ brainwashing him into believing that he is Daddy Love’s real son, and any time the boy resists or rebels he is met with punishment beyond his wildest nightmares.
As Robbie grows older he becomes more aware of just how monstrous Daddy Love truly is. Once terrified of what would happen if he disobeyed Daddy Love, he begins to realize that the longer he is locked in the shackles of this demon, the greater chance he’ll end up like Daddy Love’s other ‘sons’ who were never heard from again. Somewhere within this tortured boy lies a spark of rebellion . . . and soon he will see just what lengths he must go to in order to have any chance at survival.
I requested this book, knowing from the detailed synopsis what the content was about ... I read horror, I read true crime, so I'm not pleading ignorance and wailing ... it wasn't what I expected. After being profoundly moved by Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl, a story I will never forget, I thought Daddy Love would evoke similar feelings.
The story is a parent's worst nightmare, it's heart breaking and horrifying reading of little Robbie's abduction, the unspeakable torture and abuse he was subjected to. It was heartbreaking to read of Dinah's (Robbie's mother) horrific injuries but more significantly the unfathomable emotional torment Dinah and her husband suffered.
Chester Cash (Daddy Love) is not a morally reprehensible character, that would be too kind! He is pure evil. My skin crawled, I was utterly repulsed by his deceptive and manipulative skills, I wanted to vomit, I feel sick to my stomach just typing 'Daddy Love'.
It's a disturbing and sad fact that sociopathic sexual predators exist in our society, the horrors they perpetrate are very real, making reads like this all the more distressing and terrifying. So all that trauma and I'm left speechless by the ending ... actually I wasn't speechless, I was what the?? The ending was ... SHITE. I was trying to think of a more civil way to word it, but I can't and now I don't want to.
I was so shocked by the ending or rather non-ending, I flicked back and forth thinking I must have missed something, I read it again and again, I downloaded the book again believing the download was faulty. Nope that was IT ... when I think about it I actually find it rather insulting that as a reader I'm expected to believe that an 11 year old boy who's experienced a 6 year descent into hell can leave a psychologist's office alone??
I appear to be in the minority with my thoughts on this one.