The Bad Daughter by Joy Fielding #bookreview #thriller

Title: The Bad Daughter

Author: Joy Fielding

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: February 27, 2018

Page Count: 369

My rating:  3 stars

About the book:

A gripping, edge-of-your-seat thriller of family intrigue and dark secrets, from the author of Someone Is Watching and See Jane Run.

There was no shortage of words she could use to describe her father, almost none of them complimentary. Serves you damn right, she thought.

A voice mail from her estranged sister, Melanie, sends Robin’s heart racing and her mind spiraling in a full-blown panic attack. Melanie’s message is dire: Their father, his second wife, and his twelve-year-old stepdaughter have been shot—likely in a home invasion—and lie in the hospital in critical condition.

It’s been more than five years since Robin turned her back on her father when he married her best friend. Five years since she said goodbye to her hometown of Red Bluff, California, and became a therapist. More than two years since Robin and Melanie have spoken. Yet even with all that distance and time and acrimony, the past is always with Robin.

Now she must return to the family she left behind. As she attempts to mend fences while her father clings to life, Robin begins to wonder if there is more to the tragedy than a botched burglary attempt. It seems that everyone—Robin’s mercurial sister, her less-than-communicative nephew, her absent brother, and even Tara, her father’s wife—has something to hide. And someone may have put them all in grave danger.

New York Times bestselling author Joy Fielding has written a gripping edge-of-your-seat thriller of family intrigue and dark secrets. The Bad Daughter explores the deadly differences between the lies we want to believe and the truths we wish not to know.


The Bad Daughter by Joy Fielding is a bit of a slow burn mystery/thriller read that was full of secrets and lies surrounding the family involved. When first introduced to the main character, Robin, readers know her past holds a lot to uncover as she begins suffering from a panic attack from merely hearing her sister’s voice after a couple of years.

When Robin gets in touch with her sister, Melanie, she gets the horrific news that her father, his wife and daughter have been shot in what looks like a home invasion. All are clinging onto life at the hospital pushing Robin to return home to Red Bluff, California where she confronts her past to unravel the events of the present.

Now for anyone who follows my reviews one would think that my mid range rating for this one probably came from the slow pace/lack of action but for this one that wasn’t the case. I struggled with deciding how exactly to rate this book as it actually did a great job of holding my attention as I learned all about the family and what had happened that night.

However, as easy as this one was to become engrossed in while reading it also contained something that really for lack of a better way to put it just completely ticked me off. Possibly a mild spoiler but the author had included an autistic character within the story which had me thinking yay for the reality of today’s society where autism is prevalent. But then this was basically used as an excuse to throw suspicion of the character. Of course pretty much every character in a read like this is suspicious but it couldn’t help but grate at my nerves that nothing other than being withdrawn made that character questionable in the characters eyes.

In the end I also thought that the mystery of who had shot the family wasn’t really one that was too terribly hard to solve either but it may come as a shock to some. So while this held my attention rather well to keep the pages turning the things I came across lowered my rating of course.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the author:

Joy Fielding (née Tepperman; born March 18, 1945) is a Canadian novelist and actress. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, she graduated from the University of Toronto in 1966, with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. As Joy Tepperman, she had a brief acting career, appearing in the film Winter Kept Us Warm (1965) and in an episode of Gunsmoke. She later changed her last name to Fielding (after Henry Fielding) and began writing novels.
Fielding is also the screenwriter of the television film Golden Will: The Silken Laumann Story.

At the age of 8, Joy Tepperman wrote her first story and sent it into a local magazine, and at age 12 sent in her first TV script, however both were rejected. She had a brief acting career, eventually giving it up to write full-time in 1972. She has published to date 22 novels, two of which were converted into film. Fielding’s process of having an idea to the point the novel is finished generally takes a year, the writing itself taking four to eight months. Joy Fielding sets most of her novels in American cities such as Boston and Chicago. She has said that she prefers to set her novels in “big American cities, [as the] landscape seems best for [her] themes of urban alienation and loss of identity. Fielding is a Canadian citizen. Her husband’s name is Warren, and they have two daughters, Annie and Shannon. They have property in Toronto, Ontario, as well as Palm Beach, Florida.

Fielding had an interview with the Vancouver Sun in 2007, just after her publication of Heartstopper. She enjoys catching readers off guard with the endings of her stories, but insists that “[it] isn’t what her fiction is about”, but rather more about the development of her characters. Discussing her novels with the Toronto Star in 2008, she said “I might not write fiction in the literary sense. But I write very well. My characters are good. My dialog is good. And my stories are really involving. I’m writing exactly the kind of books I like to write. And they’re the kind of books I like to read. They’re popular commercial fiction. That’s what they are.”

Fielding has been noted as a novelist who is more popular in the United States and foreign countries, rather than in her native Canada. For example, the novel Kiss Mommy Goodbye was more popular in the States, and See Jane Run in Germany. In addition, she had an American agent and publisher, although she has now switched to a Canadian publisher.


Categories: Uncategorized

7 replies

    • Just one of those things that just nagged at me the whole time I was reading that one that may not bother anyone else I suppose. I scanned over reviews after posting mine and didn’t see it mentioned anywhere so it seems more a me thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great review Carrie. I have read all of Joy Fielding’s books but was declined for this one. I will probably read it eventually, but not going to rush. I agree, having a character with autism should serve a purpose to the story. Perhaps that was her purpose that just because he was different he was a suspect, who knows. Glad it kept your attention though.

    Liked by 1 person

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