The Only Child: A Novel by Andrew PyperThe Only Child: A Novel by Andrew Pyper

The Only Child: A Novel

byAndrew Pyper

Paperback | May 23, 2017

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The #1 internationally bestselling author Andrew Pyper returns with a thrilling new novel about one woman’s search for a killer and the stunning secret that binds them to each other.

What if you learned your father wasn’t who you thought he was? What if you learned you carried secrets deep within your blood?

Dr. Lily Dominick has seen her share of bizarre cases as a forensic psychiatrist working with some of New York’s most dangerous psychotic criminals. But nothing can prepare Lily for her newest patient.

Client 46874-A is nameless. He insists that he is not human, and believes that he was not born, but created over two hundred years ago. As Lily listens to this man describe the twisted crime he’s committed, she can’t shake the feeling that he’s come for her—especially once he reveals something she would have thought impossible: He knew her mother.

Lily was only six years old when her mother was violently killed in what investigators concluded was a bear attack. But even though she was there, even though she saw it, Lily has never been certain of what really happened that night. Now, this stranger may hold the answers to the questions she’s buried deep within herself all her life. That’s when he escapes.

To discover the truth—behind her client, her mother’s death, herself—Lily must embark on a journey to find him that will threaten her career, her sanity, and ultimately her life.

Fusing relentless suspense with surprising emotion, The Only Child is a psychological thriller about family, identity and monstrosity that will keep you up until its last unforgettable revelation.
Title:The Only Child: A NovelFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:May 23, 2017Publisher:Simon & SchusterLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1476755299

ISBN - 13:9781476755298

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good This book was riveting. It held onto me tight, and I didn't want to put it down.
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty good ** spoiler alert ** This was a fast and easy read that I enjoyed. I really liked the character of Michael and was sucked into his journal entries and stories he shared with the main character, Lily. I wanted more about him and Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson and Bram Stoker. Those parts were fantastic! As a protagonist, Lily was ok to start with, but I just couldn't feel myself really caring about her - she came across as too empty. Still, a decent psychological, supernatural thriller and I enjoyed the ending. If you enjoyed Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough you will probably really enjoy this one.
Date published: 2017-07-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Meh I enjoyed it. I did. But I like some of his others better. This one did not keep me awake at night as others of his do - this one felt removed somehow - not something that could happen to "normal" people. Just didn't have the same fear factor other works of this authors have had. Still. Good read. Page turner. I wanted to read more and more and more....
Date published: 2017-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really good Enjoyed the plot and characters in the story
Date published: 2017-05-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good It was somewhat obvious a male writer had written this Female heroin's story. Was a bit hard to follow with the many changes and quirks but a good read all in all
Date published: 2017-05-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Only Child 3.5 The Only Child is the newest book from Andrew Pyper. Dr. Lily Dominick is a forensic psychiatrist, specializing in the 'worst' cases and the most dangerous offenders. Much of her motivation for her chosen profession is the unsolved murder of her mother. Lily was there, but has only hazy, dream-like memories of the first six years of her life. Her latest patient, Client 46874-A, has committed a horrific crime and claims to over two hundred years old. What he also claims is knowledge of Lily's past - and her mother. When he escapes, Lily is driven to find him - and the answers she so desperately seeks. The cover of The Only Child gives you a good idea of the story within. Gothic feel - foggy, old building, mysterious fleeing men wearing a black, somewhat capelike coat..... Uh huh, you got it. Pyper takes inspiration for his story from classic horror literature such as that from Stevenson, Stoker and Shelley. Indeed, they play a role in his tale. Lily was a complicated lead to like. I never felt drawn to her, but rather questioned her choices and motivations. But her decision to pursue Client 46874-A are akin to those horror movies where you shout at the screen....'Don't go in the basement!" We know she is heading into danger, but are curious as to where and what Pyper has planned for her. Pyper has created his own monster with a modern twist. I did find Client 46874-A to be what I expected - he wasn't an overly original creation IMO.Is Client 46874-A truly dangerous? Or are the men hunting him the danger? Lily is torn by what to believe - especially after Client 46874-A reveals more and more of his connection to Lily. The exploration of family and the need to know ourselves figure prominently into Lily's search. But, the sexual tension between the two leads is, well, just icky. Pyper's descriptions of characters and settings are dark, chilling and creepy. The tension escalates as the cat and mouse game progresses. Pyper ends The Only Child with a nice little twist that suits perfectly. For this reader, The Only Child was an okay read, but not a stand-out. Was it my love for those classic tales? My feeling that I had read this story before? Not sure, but this was only a middle of the road read for me.
Date published: 2017-05-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great idea! Wonderful idea, love the genre, I did have a hard time connecting with the main character but other than that it was worth a read
Date published: 2017-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Took Me Places New York, Budapest, Paris, London, Geneva, Yukon, Alaska. The Only Chid transports you to all these places but the real journey is in the mind. Sensual and thrilling. Very entertaining.
Date published: 2017-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing The concept of the gothic (as a literary genre as well as a moment of history) is re-visited and re-invigorated in this novel that's at once exciting, suspenseful, and emotionally involving. THE ONLY CHILD reads like serious candy...and I mean that in the best possible way!
Date published: 2017-04-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from An interesting premise dragged down by weak subplots and a boring protagonist The Only Child is . . . well, it's a lot of things, and I think that might be the problem. Andrew Pyper weaves what could have been an entirely satisfying gothic horror story, but then dilutes it with the trappings of a contemporary psychological thriller, drags it down with a 'hunter' subplot that's as weak as it is unwanted, and ties it all to a protagonist who loses all appeal after the first few chapters. Dr. Lily Dominick is introduced as a smart, strong, independent young woman who chooses to confront and catalogue the monsters around us. There's a glimmer of humanity beneath her cool, clinical exterior that engages the reader and draws us is, but it's all too quickly extinguished. Instead, she's reduced to the role of victim, an emotionless pawn who forces the story forward, but about whose fate it's really hard to care. Michael, the madman and monster at the heart of the tale, is really the only reason to keep reading, but even he wears thin after a while. His backstory is utterly fascinating, a tragic tale of gothic horror that ensnares Shelley, Stevenson, and Stoker, but it's only a small part of the story. Unfortunately, the bulk of the story involves his pursuit of Lily, and while there are some interesting questions there to drive the suspense, his threatening taunts and incestuous sexual innuendo are so over-the-top that he becomes a mockery of the genre. Even worse, their contrived cat-and-mouse game will have you mentally calculating the odds of continually being in the right place, at the right time, to see/hear/find the right thing. The whole 'gothic' thing is played very well for about the first half of the novel, before it's almost completely forgotten. There are some great set pieces, such as the Kirby Forensic Psychiatric Center and the abandoned asylum in Budapest, but too much of the story takes place in airports, hotels, and tile-floor bathrooms. Similarly, Michael's diaries and journals are utterly fascinating, and really serve to bring the story to life, but then they just disappear. As for the hunter subplot, the story could have done very well without it. Aside from introducing a lame romantic subplot and orchestrating a violent climax that feels out of place for the genre, it never really serves a purpose. It never feels as if Lily is truly threatened by the hunters; we're not given enough detail to ever question (or care) whether they are good or bad; and their pursuit of Michael adds absolutely nothing to his story. There's a really good gothic horror story buried in The Only Child - unfortunately, it's overwhelmed by a boring contemporary psychological drama and a clichéd procedural thriller. The twist ending (which should come as a surprise to absolutely no one) redeems it somewhat, but by that point it's too little too late.
Date published: 2017-03-28

Read from the Book

The Only Child 1 She was awakened by the monster knocking at the door. Lily knows better than most how unlikely it is that this is real. Through her years of training and now her days in the courtroom providing expert testimony on psychological states of mind, she has learned how shaky the recollections of children can be. And she was only six when it happened. The age when certain things get stuck in the net of real memory, and other things you try to sell yourself on having happened but are in fact made up, turned into convincing bits of dream. What is verifiably known is that Lily was small for her age, green-eyed, her straight black hair snarled into a nest. The sole survivor. And there was the body, of course. Her mother’s. She rereads the documents the authorities submitted the same way others return to old love letters or family photo albums, tracing the outlines of faces. It’s an act of remembrance, but something more too. She’s looking for the missing link. Because though the coroner and police reports seem decisive enough, plausible enough, she can see all the ways the facts were stretched to connect to other facts with long strings of theory in between. It was a story assembled to close a file. A terrible, but not unprecedented, northern tale of an animal attack: a creature of considerable size—a bear, almost certainly, drawn by scents of cooked meat and human sweat—had forced its way into their cabin a couple hundred miles short of the Arctic Circle in Alaska and torn her mother apart, leaving Lily undiscovered in her bedroom, where she’d hidden from the screams. Acceptable on the face of it, as such stories are designed to be. Yet there was so much that wasn’t known it made for a narrative that collapsed upon itself at the merest prodding. Why, for instance, had the bear not eaten her mother? Where could it have gone that the hunters who went after it only a day later failed to find its tracks? The most puzzling part was how she made it out of the woods. Three miles to the only road that led, after a two-hour drive, to Fairbanks. The trail to the cabin a set of muddy ruts in summer, but in the subzero depths of February impossible to reach except by snowmobile, and her mother’s Kawasaki remained untouched at the site. When and why did she eventually leave the cabin? How did she get through the woods all on her own? The year she turned thirty Lily spent her summer vacation conducting an investigation of her own. She traveled north to see the cabin for herself and walked from the site through an aspen forest to the rusting trailer her mother had called their “secret place.” She spoke with all the people she could find who were mentioned in the reports. That was how she came to meet one of the hunters who’d assisted on the case. An old man by the time she took a seat next to the bed where he lay in an old-age home for Native Americans in Anchorage. A man old enough to have nothing to lose and grateful for the visit of a young woman. “My name is Lily,” she told him. “Lily Dominick? When I was a girl—” “I remember you.” “You do?” “The one the bear didn’t touch.” He shook his head with a kind of sad amusement, as if at the recollection of a practical joke gone wrong. “Except it wasn’t a bear.” “How do you know?” “Marks in the snow,” he answered, running his fingers through the air to indicate legs. “From the cabin to some birch about a quarter mile in. And not bear tracks either.” “That wasn’t in the report.” “It wouldn’t be. I told the dumb suit about it—the federal investigator—but he didn’t even bother looking because he said the snow had blown it clear. But I saw them fine. Not a machine, not snowshoes. Not boots.” “Then what?” He smiled and showed her the half dozen stumps of his teeth. “The closest thing? What I told the dumb suit? A horse.” “A horse,” Lily repeated. It wasn’t a question. It was to hear from her own mouth something at once impossible and deeply known. “The suits never put that in any of the write-ups. ‘To avoid embarrassment.’ Mine, I guess,” the old man said. “Because there’s no wild horses in Alaska. And no kept horse could have made it through snow that deep even if one had been hauled up that far. It couldn’t have gotten in, which means it couldn’t have gotten out.” It left the question of what happened to be answered by a hypothesis supported by a patchwork of forensics and animal behavior testimony. Lily had been of little help. Deemed unreliable given her age, and traumatized by the shock of losing her only parent. What made her version of events all the more dismissible was the obvious fantasy she’d created. She’d spoken of the dark outline of a ghoul bent over her mother’s form, followed by the appearance of a magical creature that carried her out of the bush on its back. Being a psychiatrist now, Lily knew it to be true: children made things up all the time, not only for pleasure, but sometimes to survive. Even today she “remembers” things from that night. A handful of details recalled with the clarity of a lived event. She was awakened by the monster knocking at the door. She thinks of it as this, as a monster, because she knows it wasn’t a bear. Because bears don’t knock before entering. Because the one difference between animals and people is that animals don’t murder, they hunt. Because she saw it.

Editorial Reviews

"Pyper's writing is gripping, and readers will undoubtedly make comparisons to Stephen King."