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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
In How to Spot a Psychopath by M.Q. Webb, reporter Jessica Green is being held on suspicion of possibly having murdered a missing 4-year-old. When psychiatrist Dr. Oscar de la Nuit asks her why she has been researching psychopaths, she replies, “People are interested in abnormal behavior.” How right Jessica is! That’s the primary reason I decided to read this novel, and given the popularity of movies and books, both fiction and non-fiction, that focus on serial killers and psychopaths, author M.Q. Webb’s decision to embark on this new psychological thriller series is bound to find a wide readership.
Webb’s story strikes at the heart of parents’ greatest fears: how to keep their children safe. He sets the novel around the mothers of kindergarteners. These moms do the usual things, sharing child-raising issues over coffee after dropping off the children. Reporter Jessica starts sensing something “off” about Holly, Mia’s mom, but when Mia goes missing, suspicion falls on Jessica. Why would Jessica harm her own little girl’s best friend? No one knows where Mia is. Dr. Oscar is certain Jessica knows what happened but Jessica clams up. Given her interest in psychopaths, has Jessica been trying to determine if she is one? Or is she protecting someone?
M.Q. Webb keeps readers on tenterhooks as a chapter set in the present gradually reveals information about both Jessica and Dr. Oscar, before the following chapter set in the past yields insights into what happened. Through easy-flowing, natural dialogue, characters show readers their true selves. Readers feel emotionally connected to Jessica and Dr. Oscar, puzzled about Holly and Jessica’s sister, Niki, and increasingly curious as to just who is the psychopath in this story. If your idea of a good read is quick, challenges your sleuthing skills, and gives you chills thinking about the possible realities presented, you’ll enjoy How to Spot a Psychopath. Good work, M.Q. Webb.