Playing Nice #jpdelaney @randomhouse #psycologicalthriller #family #fictionfriends #duoreviews @JanBelisle @absltmom

Looking once again for a take me away from the craziness happening in our lives, Jan and I decided to read J.P. Delaney’s new book Playing Nice. It provided just the diversion we were looking for and gave us many hours of riveting reading.

Playing Nice

Jan’s review

Most of us would do anything for our family, especially our children. But imagine finding out your 2-year-old isn’t your biological child?  That during an emergency in the NICU there was a mix-up at birth?  

This is the dilemma facing Maddie and Pete. In the beginning, everyone is playing nice as they attempt to work out an amicable arrangement. Both sets of parents appear to want what’s best for the children. It’s difficult to say much without giving away key plot points, but as you would expect, there are ulterior motives and not everything is as it seems. How far would you go to protect your child?

To make matters more complicated, one family is wealthy while the other is not. One family has a healthy child, while the other child has significant developmental delays. Parenting styles are different and the age old question of nature vs nurture is explored. The characters are well-developed and I found myself questioning everyone. Who to trust when everyone involved is harboring secrets?

The plot sounds cliché with a story line that has been done to death. However, in this author’s hands, this story is so much more. I particularly enjoy a story line that delves into psychological issues, and this book has that, and more.  This is an excellent character-driven story with an engaging plot that leaves the reader with much to ponder, although for thriller fans, no worries. There are plenty of surprises in store. And that ending! Don’t forget to read the author’s note in the afterword.

Marialyce and I were looking for an engaging read while we are sheltering-in-place and this provided a much welcomed escape!

·      I received a digital copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest


·      Publication date of July 2020 by Random House, Ballantine

Marialyce’s review

Everyone makes mistakes. We all go through life making simple mistakes and also those that were not so simple. Although in most cases a mistake does not change the course of your life.

When a knock comes to the door at the home of Pete Riley and his partner Maddie, a mistake is revealed that will change their lives. For behind that knock is Miles Lambert bearing the news that the baby Pete and Maddie thought was theirs is not theirs at all. The hospital made a mistake and switched babies and now the child living in Miles’s home is the blood child of Pete and Maddie and the child living in Miles and Maddie’s home is really the son of Miles and his wife, Lucy. How could this be, and yet it turns out to be true. A nightmare really, but the parents decide to keep the status quo, letting each child stay where they now reside. So civilized, so understanding, so accepting they are!

However soon things crop up that challenge that ever so civilized understanding. There are discrepancies between the families. Pete and Maddie struggle making ends meet while Miles and his wife are wealthy. The babies also are markedly different. Theo is an active child, headstrong and showing signs that are concerning in his behavior while David, deprived of oxygen at birth, is brain damaged.

As the tale continues, we see the four characters play out one against the other and as we delve more into their personalities we find very troubling details that threaten the very being of both the children and the couples involved.

Told with an open eye towards the various stages of psychopathy, this book delved into an area we often find fascinating as some professionals say that one out of every four people is a psychopath or has psychopathic tendencies. Certainly this character study of the protagonists, particularly the men was fascinating and will keep you riveted to the story. I definitely recommend this one for it provides an engrossing read and one that certainly will divert you from the craziness of today’s world.

Thank you to J.P. Delaney, Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine and NetGalley for a copy of this book due out on July 28, 2020.

and here’s the author

JP Delaney, is a bestselling author who’s written under several different names.

People often ask why I write under a pseudonym. There’s no great mystery to it – it’s simply that I like to write different kinds of books, and publishers and retailers believe it’s confusing for readers to pick up a book by an author they think they know, only to discover it’s a completely different kind of story to the one they were expecting.

Personally, I think my books have much more in common with each other than they have differences. I find similar characters, themes and interests cropping up whatever I’m writing. (Sometimes I even drop in little parallels, just for fun…) And my relationship with the reader is always fundamentally the same. I never forget I’m inviting them to come with me on a journey,  and that as their host and guide it’s my duty to enthrall them.

8 thoughts on “Playing Nice #jpdelaney @randomhouse #psycologicalthriller #family #fictionfriends #duoreviews @JanBelisle @absltmom

  1. My favorite coronavirus read to date. Lets hope we are on a roll! 🤞 Fantastic review Marialyce! I liked his explanation of why the author uses pseudonyms.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This one sounds so good! I’ve asked my adult students to discuss this hypothetical situation many times and it’s never failed to engage them. Thank you for recommendation!
    I don’t know why I thought JP Delaney was a woman 😁 Not that it matters!

    Liked by 1 person

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