New Book – The Dead Ground by Claire McGowan

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Publishing year: 2014

This is the second book in the Paula Maguire series.

In the previous book, Paula was left with a complex situation. She finds out she’s pregnant, but she doesn’t know who the father might as she slept with two men in a matter of weeks: Guy Brooking, her boss, and Aidan O’Hara, her ex-boyfriend when she was a teenager. Now a month later Paula keeps her secret, not sure what to do. The only person she finally tells is her friend Saoirse, an awkward moment since Saoirse has been trying to get pregnant since she got married five years ago.

Apart from her personal situation, Paula finds herself in the middle of two missing people But first, let’s make a reference to the prologue of the book, which takes place in 1993. Here we get inside Paula’s father’s mind for the first time. That day in 1993 he was called as a man, who had been kidnapped by the IRA, was found dead. PJ was assigned to tell his wife, and then he learns that the woman has been out of contact for three days. When he and his team get to the house, they find that the woman had been beaten and locked in the house, and then she went into labour, and tried to get the baby out of her. The baby died, but against all odds, the woman survived, but Dr. Alison Bates told PJ that she could never have children again. It was that day when PJ’s wife and Paula’s mother went missing.

Then in 2010, Paula’s team have an important case. A baby has been kidnapped from a hospital. The baby was just hours old when a nurse came to the ward and claimed she had to take the baby for tests. Paula thinks that the kidnapper must be a woman who for some reason can’t have children or lost a child of her own. She also believes that the woman works or has worked at the hospital because in the CCTV footage the woman appears at ease.

The second person to go missing is Dr Alison Bates, the same doctor Paula’s father talked to in the case of the prologue.  The doctor set a clinic to advise women of their options in pregnancy, and if that option was abortion, she’d arrange everything for the woman to travel to England and have the procedure done. Paula goes to the clinic herself for her situation, but the doctor hasn’t turned up that morning. Then later in the day, Guy announces that her disappearance has been reported. The doctor had received dead threats because of her professional activity, and also because of her personal life (she is a Lesbian).

Maybe I’m wide of the mark, but I have the hunch that these two cases are linked somehow. Could the woman that PJ saved be involved in all this? Maybe she is the one to have taken the boy, but what about Dr Bates? Has she been murdered because she was the one to perform a hysterectomy on the woman, and this woman holds her responsible? I can’t wait to find out more and also to know what Paula is going to do. She’s quite frustrating. Why hasn’t she talked to Aidan since they were in that dangerous situation with the Carrs? She’ll have to talk to him sooner or later. Even though I don’t dislike Guy, I like Aidan much more.

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