Playing Nice
What if you found out that your family isn't yours at all? How far would you go to protect them? A gripping new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of The Girl Before. . . .Pete Riley answers the door one morning and lets in a parent's worst nightmare. On his doorstep is Miles Lambert, a stranger who breaks the devastating news that Pete's son, Theo, isn't actually his son--he is the Lamberts', switched at birth by an understaffed hospital while their real son was sent home with Miles and his wife, Lucy. For Pete, his partner Maddie, and the little boy they've been raising for the past two years, life will never be the same again.The two families, reeling from the shock, take comfort in shared good intentions, eagerly entwining their very different lives in the hope of becoming one unconventional modern family. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an official investigation that unearths some disturbing questions about the night their children were switched. How much can they trust the other parents--or even each other? What secrets are hidden behind the Lamberts' glossy front door? Stretched to the breaking point, Pete and Maddie discover they will each stop at nothing to keep their family safe.They are done playing nice.

Playing Nice Details

TitlePlaying Nice
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 28th, 2020
ISBN-139781984821348
Rating
GenreThriller, Mystery, Fiction, Suspense, Mystery Thriller

Playing Nice Review

  • Dita
    January 1, 1970
    I never intended to read this entire book yesterday but once I started I could not walk away from it.Imagine someone showing up on your doorstep one day and explaining that your child, the toddler you love and cherish, isn't your biological child...that a mistake had been made at the hospital during a chaotic and traumatic delivery. Being a mother both biologically and through adoption, I found this book riveting, thoughtful, and terrifying. The questions regarding nature versus nurture and whet I never intended to read this entire book yesterday but once I started I could not walk away from it.Imagine someone showing up on your doorstep one day and explaining that your child, the toddler you love and cherish, isn't your biological child...that a mistake had been made at the hospital during a chaotic and traumatic delivery. Being a mother both biologically and through adoption, I found this book riveting, thoughtful, and terrifying. The questions regarding nature versus nurture and whether parenting is defined by biology or the heart were so personal for me.J.P. Delaney can do no wrong in my eyes, I love everything he has ever written, including under his pseudonyms, and this is his best to date, without question.**And don't worry there is plenty in here to keep the attention of those of us who need a little thriller in our books!Thank you to J.P. Delany, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley for giving me this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    Can you imagine during your mid-day somebody knocking on your door and when you answer it, you see a man standing in front of you looks like older version of your son! There are three options for you to express your feelings:1) Slamming the door shut at the man’s face and form a plan to kill your spouse for her infidelity (you may also hire a contract killer if you have great connections at the dark web. Don’t you dare to ask me how I can know!)2) Slamming the door shut at the man’s face, moving Can you imagine during your mid-day somebody knocking on your door and when you answer it, you see a man standing in front of you looks like older version of your son! There are three options for you to express your feelings:1) Slamming the door shut at the man’s face and form a plan to kill your spouse for her infidelity (you may also hire a contract killer if you have great connections at the dark web. Don’t you dare to ask me how I can know!)2) Slamming the door shut at the man’s face, moving fast to toss everything inside your valise, grabbing your son and leaving your place from your back door.3) Scrutinizing the guy’s face, acting like a naïve, gullible person and asking: “could you be my son’s second cousin?’I know my three options are so stupid! And I cannot imagine a man appears in front of my door telling me two years ago our kids switch at birth and he is biological dad of my son. It’s so devilish, smart, gripping, hooking you from the beginning plot, isn’t it? That’s why J. P. Delaney is one of the great authors: he doesn’t give us stupid choices or plot has more holes than my socks have! (I spent all my money to booze and books! And I love my feet get more air!)So we have two families: Lamberts-wealthy ones (Miles and Lucy) and Rileys ( wait a minute, we have Pete and Maddie but they are not married and unfortunately they are not financially stable. Pete is journalist, stay at home dad but he is responsible and gets parenting very seriously, spending his time at chat forms for dads to read the comments and try the best options to help his son! Maddie suffered from post-partum depression after giving birth to her child and had problems to connect with him. She didn’t share the same bound Pete and Theo have but it doesn’t make her bad mother and it doesn’t mean she doesn’t love him, does it?)Two switched kids: Theo and David.Miles’ life completely changes at the day Miles Lambert knocks his front door accompanied with a private investigator, showing him the DNA results and telling him they’re suing the hospital for their crucial and impactful mistake! But a few pages later we find out: there are affidavits indicate that Miles also sues the family and we may sense he’s after the full custody of Theo!Two families arrange a meeting at Miles’ big mansion, being introduced with David and they find out: little boy suffer from brain damage, introvert kid. They finally decide they are not gonna change anything with children’s life: they will live with the same parents but they also decide they’ll involve their biological child’s life like a family friend do.Both parties seem like appeased with the solution but wait for it! We have a real psychopath in this equation and a psychopath gets furious when he doesn’t get his way and things get uglier. Could Nate and Maddie resume playing nice around them for their son’s sake? Did they put themselves in danger at the very same day they accepted Lamberts in their lives?This is gripping, psychological, high tensioned family drama plays with your nerves, making you face with your insecurities and inner fears, nightmares! I was wearing gloves not to bite my nails during my reading so you may imagine I changed 6 pairs of gloves! I may have stress-eaten some of them!The conclusion of the story and final twists are also well-played, well-written and well-developed.Overall: I read while I was sitting at the edge of my couch. It was one of the reads make you nervous, edgy, frustrated and when you finish it, you take a long deep breathe and say thanks loudly for not being one of the characters of the book!This means I’m addictive to this author’s books and I keep going blind and devouring them without thinking a second!Special thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group/Ballantine for sharing this fantastic ARC in exchange my honest review.bloginstagramfacebooktwitter
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  • Bridgett
    January 1, 1970
    Hello, friends! Meet my first 5-star stunner of 2020! I've had a few 4.5 star reads which I've rounded up, but Playing Nice has become the understated hit of my reading season thus far. I confess, after The Perfect Wife, a story of which I was NOT a fan, I honestly didn't have high hopes going in. However, since I really enjoyed The Girl Before, I was absolutely willing to give J.P. Delaney another shot. I'm so glad I did!This book is everything I never knew I wanted. Swapped baby stories are su Hello, friends! Meet my first 5-star stunner of 2020! I've had a few 4.5 star reads which I've rounded up, but Playing Nice has become the understated hit of my reading season thus far. I confess, after The Perfect Wife, a story of which I was NOT a fan, I honestly didn't have high hopes going in. However, since I really enjoyed The Girl Before, I was absolutely willing to give J.P. Delaney another shot. I'm so glad I did!This book is everything I never knew I wanted. Swapped baby stories are such a cliché, but Playing Nice is so much more. This is a story about mental illness, addiction, abuse, murder, lies, betrayal, the law, and most importantly, it covers just how far parents are willing to go to protect the child they love, despite the multitude of nightmarish scenarios facing them. It's a total roller-coaster ride. My emotions were all over the place! It's terrifying and addicting.I had to force myself to stop reading last night. I've had an incredibly busy day, and it's made me totally grouchy because all I could think about was getting back to this book. Any of you who know me, and have read my reviews for awhile, know I'm not one to gush...but I am so gushing right now. Just do yourself a favor and read it. Available July 28, 2020**Many thanks to the publisher for my review copy.
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  • Jayme
    January 1, 1970
    If I were Forrest Gump, or perhaps his mother, I would say, “J P Delaney books are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Nothing formulaic, about this author’s work! The first was suspense, the second read like a screenplay, the third had a sci-fi feel, and now comes “Playing Nice” one that will feel like a family drama for the MAJORITY of the book but, don’t worry...not everything is what it seems! “IT WAS JUST AN ORDINARY DAY” Until it wasn’t.A knock on the door chan If I were Forrest Gump, or perhaps his mother, I would say, “J P Delaney books are like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Nothing formulaic, about this author’s work! The first was suspense, the second read like a screenplay, the third had a sci-fi feel, and now comes “Playing Nice” one that will feel like a family drama for the MAJORITY of the book but, don’t worry...not everything is what it seems! “IT WAS JUST AN ORDINARY DAY” Until it wasn’t.A knock on the door changes everything for Pete and Maddie, our two narrators, when they are told that they took home the wrong baby, from the hospital two years ago...two babies accidentally switched at birth.At first, Miles and Lucy, the other parents involved, are “playing nice”. But, it is just an act, and since Miles is used to getting what he wants, and what he wants is his biological son, Theo, he will stop at nothing to get him back! My favorite chocolate in the box...caramel pecan turtles...yummy! My favorite JP Delaney book-“PLAYING NICE” by far! You can pre-order now or pick up your copy on July 28thBut set aside, a chunk of time-you WON’T be able to put it down!!Thank You to Netgalley, Ballantine books and the author for the digital arc I received in exchange for a candid review!
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  • JanB
    January 1, 1970
    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, 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 review.• Publication date of July 2020 by Random House, Ballantine• This was a buddy read with my friend Marialyce. For our duo reviews please visit https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...
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  • marilyn
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, what a horrible thing to happen to a family, to two families! Two years after Maggie and Pete have the agonizing time of their son Theo being born months early, and all the heartbreak that goes with such a tiny premature baby, a man enters their life and tells them that Theo is his son, that their babies were accidentally switched not long after they were born and sent to the ICU for babies. Miles and Lucy, who have baby David, have had him DNA tested so they are positive he is not their so Wow, what a horrible thing to happen to a family, to two families! Two years after Maggie and Pete have the agonizing time of their son Theo being born months early, and all the heartbreak that goes with such a tiny premature baby, a man enters their life and tells them that Theo is his son, that their babies were accidentally switched not long after they were born and sent to the ICU for babies. Miles and Lucy, who have baby David, have had him DNA tested so they are positive he is not their son. Miles has also secretly had Theo tested and they know that Theo is their son. Miles claims that they want to work with Maggie and Pete, to not disrupt the life of either boy, but allow both sets of parents to play a role in each boy's life. Theo is very headstrong and seems to lack any trace of compassion or kindness to others, but he's just two years old and Pete is a fantastic, stay at home, hands on father, willing to make any changes in his raising and guidance of Theo, to ensure he learns healthy social skills. Theo looks like Miles and even seems to take after Miles in other ways. And little David looks like Maggie and reminds her of her favorite brother, when he was David's age. David has mental and physical challenges from his very premature birth and Miles and Lucy have the money to give him the special care he needs, although their huge home and their life, seems so sterile and cold, to Maggie and Pete. Then things start falling apart. Miles is demanding, thinking he's going to send Theo to boarding school when he's older, dropping by Theo's house at night to spend time with him, interfering with Theo, Pete, and Maggie's routine and lives. Miles practically demands that Pete, Maggie, and Theo go on a week long vacation with his family and when Pete and Maggie revolt, all hell breaks loose and their life explodes into a huge legal and moral mess. There is even a suspicion that someone may have swapped the babies on purpose. People have been hurt and murder may even play a part in this story. Things look hopeless for Pete and Maggie and they realize they may not ever get to see either child again. What at first seems like a domestic drama definitely turns into a thriller. Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley for this ARC.
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  • Dorie - Cats&Books :)
    January 1, 1970
    Playing nice is not something Miles Lambert has ever even tried to be good at. Mid-way through the book we will find out just how manipulating and forceful he can be.Pete and Maggie have been raising a son, Theo, for two years, loving him, teaching him to learn and to “play nice” with his friends. Theo is a great little boy, energetic and intelligent but has been having trouble at nursery school with sharing and learning how to play with others. He was very premature and so there was a long peri Playing nice is not something Miles Lambert has ever even tried to be good at. Mid-way through the book we will find out just how manipulating and forceful he can be.Pete and Maggie have been raising a son, Theo, for two years, loving him, teaching him to learn and to “play nice” with his friends. Theo is a great little boy, energetic and intelligent but has been having trouble at nursery school with sharing and learning how to play with others. He was very premature and so there was a long period when Pete and Maggie had to stay in the hospital while Theo was in the NICU. This was very difficult for both of them, although Pete seemed to handle it very well. He quickly learned how to comfort and love Theo. Maggie had more problems, especially when Pete was away. They were just getting to feel confident in how things were going with their relationship and with their son.It was “just an ordinary day in Willesden Green, north London” and Pete was dropping Theo off at his nursery school. Pete noticed a “ trio of people, a woman and two men, on the other side of the road watching us.” By their dress he assumed that they were possibly looking in the area for child care sites. Back home while Pete was making some coffee and spending time online with fellow “stay at home dads”, the doorbell rang. This would be the changing point of the entire book and the story of two sets of parents and two little boys who it becomes known were allegedly switched at birth. Miles Lambert is the person on Pete’s doorstep and he has come to tell him that Theo is actually his son and that Pete’s son has been living with Miles and his wife Lucy. There is a third person involved, Don Maguire, the Lambert’s lawyer, because they have already begun proceedings to sue the hospital for the mix-up and had taken a cup used by Theo and tested his DNA, he is definitely Miles’ son. What begins as a “civil” decision to make it possible for the parents and children to get to know each other quickly escalates into an impossible situation.Miles Lambert will settle for only one thing, getting Theo back. He begins to show up at Pete’s house at all hours insisting on seeing Theo. He gives him gifts which are usually inappropriate and even goes so far as to offer up a scholarship to the college he attended. Lucy and Maggie quickly become concerned at what will happen next. Lucy knows how volatile and demanding Miles is and Maggie has her own way of “reading” him and knows that the solution to this situation will not be an easy one.This is the third book I have read by this author and definitely my favorite. I enjoyed the character development and how the atmosphere in the book changed from amicable to diabolical by the end of the book. What really wrapped this up for me was the great ending, of which I won’t speak a word!!If you enjoy a great character driven thriller, this is the book for you. This novel will publish on July 28,2020.I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher through Edelweiss.
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  • Ceecee
    January 1, 1970
    For Pete Riley, freelance journalist and stay at home dad and partner Maddie who works in advertising, it’s just an ordinary day getting their boisterous son two year old Theo ready to go to nursery. Theo has difficulty ‘playing nice’ if he’s doesn’t get what he wants. Then their world is turned upside down, so much so it’s like they’ve fallen into some alternate universe following something as everyday as a knock at their door. Standing there is smugly arrogant, wealthy Miles Lambert who claims For Pete Riley, freelance journalist and stay at home dad and partner Maddie who works in advertising, it’s just an ordinary day getting their boisterous son two year old Theo ready to go to nursery. Theo has difficulty ‘playing nice’ if he’s doesn’t get what he wants. Then their world is turned upside down, so much so it’s like they’ve fallen into some alternate universe following something as everyday as a knock at their door. Standing there is smugly arrogant, wealthy Miles Lambert who claims that their premature babies are swapped in the NICU and that Theo is his son and David, who he and wife Lucy have been raising is theirs. What starts as something friendly in order to sort this out, descends into a dangerous court battle with Miles having no intention of playing nice. The story is told in alternating perspectives by Pete and Maddy which works extremely well and is interspersed with evidence gathered for the court case. This is addictive, brilliant, compulsive and gripping reading. Although none of the characters are perfect (who is?) I did like Pete and Maddy with Maddy in particular being honest about her feelings. If ever a character deserves a sock on the jaw it’s Miles. He made me so angry at times my fists clenched and the odd naughty word might have popped out of my mouth! Oh boy is he odious. Theo is, shall we settle for a live wire? He presents us with a good discussion on nature versus nurture, is he indeed like his biological father or can nurture reduce some of his less desirable instincts? This is a fascinating part of the story which is engrossing from start to finish. There are bombshells, shocks and twists along the way which make you gasp and there’s so much tension at times, you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. I think the end is clever too and works extremely well. Overall, J P Delaney has done it again. The Perfect Wife was a brilliant read in 2019 and he’s provided us with another in 2020! The premise is fantastic, it preys on every parents nightmare and fears and keeps you interested and invested throughout. This is without doubt a best seller. Highly recommended. Big thanks to NetGalley and Quercus Books for the ARC and to the author for the entertainment!
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  • DeAnn
    January 1, 1970
    5 Holy Cow StarsThis was one mind-spinning book and my first from J.P. Delaney. I found it compulsively readable and quite the page-turner! I read it in two sittings, I just had to get to the end! The premise is a fascinating one – how would you feel if someone showed up on your doorstep one morning and told you that you brought the wrong baby home from the hospital two years ago?The gentleman on the doorstep is Miles Lambert, and he and his wife Lucy want to amicably work through things, get to 5 Holy Cow StarsThis was one mind-spinning book and my first from J.P. Delaney. I found it compulsively readable and quite the page-turner! I read it in two sittings, I just had to get to the end! The premise is a fascinating one – how would you feel if someone showed up on your doorstep one morning and told you that you brought the wrong baby home from the hospital two years ago?The gentleman on the doorstep is Miles Lambert, and he and his wife Lucy want to amicably work through things, get to know each other. Or so it would seem . . . Pete and his partner Maddie are still in shock that Theo is not their son, he is not the easiest child to raise, but after two years, he is an integral part of their lives. Pete stays home with him and tries to work on teaching Theo to share. This book brings up some interesting notions of nurture vs. nature and made me ponder this a bit more.Turns out that Miles is a slick operator with money in his pockets for lawyers to sue the hospital. Things take a turn for the worse when skeletons come out of the closet and Pete and Maddie realize they are in for the fight of their lives. I was anxious as this one came to its powerhouse conclusion. I definitely recommend this one!Thank you to J.P. Delaney, NetGalley, and Random House/Ballantine for an early copy of this one to read in return for an honest review. This one is scheduled to release 7.28.2020 and I predict a summer blockbuster!
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  • Javier
    January 1, 1970
    Who would have guessed that a story about swapped babies could be so gripping and compelling! While the premise could seem a bit trite, it's written in such a fantastic way that I found myself glued to the pages. I think my anxiety levels went through the roof at some points. I could feel the blood boiling in my veins as all the misfortunes happened to Pete and Maddie. I neither confirm nor deny that I maybe shouted at my kindle more than once.I found very interesting the nature vs. nurture deba Who would have guessed that a story about swapped babies could be so gripping and compelling! While the premise could seem a bit trite, it's written in such a fantastic way that I found myself glued to the pages. I think my anxiety levels went through the roof at some points. I could feel the blood boiling in my veins as all the misfortunes happened to Pete and Maddie. I neither confirm nor deny that I maybe shouted at my kindle more than once.I found very interesting the nature vs. nurture debate the book presents. I also loved how it's not a story about good people vs. bad people (well, one of them it's pretty bad) but pretty much all the characters are flawed and maybe, thanks to that, they're easily relatable.This was a brilliant and terrifying read. I've only read one of the author's previous books but, if they're all as riveting as this one, I will have to check them out.4,5 ⭐️ (I seem to be on a streak of 4,5-5 ⭐️ books! Fingers crossed to make it last!)Thanks to Netgalley and Quercus Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    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 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. 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. To see our duo reviews: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...
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  • Herbie
    January 1, 1970
    And once again JP Delaney smashes it 🙌🏻This is one of those books that you literally cannot put down. I didn't just want to finish it, I needed to. The characters were intriguing, the story was gripping.It's only lost a star for me because I'd mentally prepared for a punchier ending.
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  • NZLisaM
    January 1, 1970
    Psychological Manipulation at its Finest!JP Delaney has expertly crafted a nightmarish domestic situation in his latest tense and twisty dramatic thriller. What if when your child was two years old you discovered he had been switched at birth? And, as if that wasn't bad enough, what if the seemingly nice, charming, easygoing birth parents (who have been raising your biological child) soon become pushy, overbearing, weird, and inappropriate.It all begins for Peter Riley and Madelyn Wilson when a Psychological Manipulation at its Finest!JP Delaney has expertly crafted a nightmarish domestic situation in his latest tense and twisty dramatic thriller. What if when your child was two years old you discovered he had been switched at birth? And, as if that wasn't bad enough, what if the seemingly nice, charming, easygoing birth parents (who have been raising your biological child) soon become pushy, overbearing, weird, and inappropriate.It all begins for Peter Riley and Madelyn Wilson when a stranger, Miles Lambert, knocks on their door with the earth-shattering news, But relief sets in when they realise the Lambert's feel the same way they do – they both love the son's they've raised and have no intention of switching them back – are content for both families to get to know each other and be involved in each other's lives. But how involved is too involved?The sneaky ways the Lambert's tried to undermine Pete and Maddie's parenting style and subtly make them out to be unfit parents definitely increased the suspense and made for nail-biting reading. A campaign of hate designed to break them down and turn the couple against one another. Pete and Maddie were fairly naïve and easily influenced and exploited but it made sense given that Miles and Lucy had had time to adjust and plan while Pete and Maddie that been thrown for a loop with no time to grasp or process the desperate, emotional and potentially dangerous circumstances they found themselves in. Playing Nice reminded me a lot of Mark Edwards, both in style and content, except instead of Neighbours from Hell or In-Laws who won't leave, Miles and Lucy had the ultimate hold over Pete and Maddie – access to their biological son, David, as well as the underlying threat that they could file for custody of Theo, so they were unwittingly connected to these strangers, and couldn't have walked away if they tried. POV's alternated between Pete and Maddie, with snippets from Case No. 12675/PU78B65 via official documentation, emails, texts, and forum posts, where the often contradictory accounts added an extra layer of suspicion and foreboding. JP Delaney impressed me so much with Playing Nice, and I for one would be thrilled to bits if he wrote more in this vein in the future and steered clear of artificial intelligence and science fiction. Mark your calendars for early August because this is my top read by him so far.I'd like to thank Netgalley, Quercus Books, and JP Delaney for the e-ARC.Publication Date: 6th August, 2020.
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  • Gary
    January 1, 1970
    This is the fourth book I have read by this author who is publishing under the pseudonym of J. P. Delaney to avoid comparisons with his other writing genres. The previous three books were fast paced and written to a very high standard so I was hoping for more of the same. Well I got it, this is another fabulous book that kept me frantically turning pages to the very end.When Pete Riley answers the door his worst nightmare is about to begin. His visitor is Miles Lambert, a stranger who informs Pe This is the fourth book I have read by this author who is publishing under the pseudonym of J. P. Delaney to avoid comparisons with his other writing genres. The previous three books were fast paced and written to a very high standard so I was hoping for more of the same. Well I got it, this is another fabulous book that kept me frantically turning pages to the very end.When Pete Riley answers the door his worst nightmare is about to begin. His visitor is Miles Lambert, a stranger who informs Pete that their sons were switched at birth accidentally by over stretched hospital staff. Pete is left reeling with the shock that Theo, the child they have been raising for the last two years is not theirs.Everything appears amicable and after the initial shock both sets of parents try to adjust to this life changing news. Miles is keen to sue the hospital, which unearths some disturbing questions about the night their children were switched. How much can they trust the other parents and what secrets have not yet been uncovered. Emotions become heightened and Pete and his wife Maddie discover they will both go to any lengths to keep their family safe.This is a fabulous thought provoking read, how would we all react if we found out the child we had raised for the last two years was not blood related and the son we had given birth to lived with complete strangers. The characters are expertly written and the suspense builds and builds creating a psychological nightmare.Highly recommended.I would like to thank both Net Galley and Quercus for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Leslie - MamaNeedsABook
    January 1, 1970
    Follow me & see my reviews @ Mama Needs A BookCan I just start by saying I lllloooovvvee J.P. Delaney? I love every. single. thing. he writes. This book was different from some of the others he has written. It reminded me of Louise Candlish or Mark Edwards. Playing Nice is about a fairly normal couple ending up in a horrible situation. Switched at birth (sounds trite, but it never felt that way in the book - and I've actually never read a book about swapped babies if I'm honest). Maddie and Pete Follow me & see my reviews @ Mama Needs A BookCan I just start by saying I lllloooovvvee J.P. Delaney? I love every. single. thing. he writes. This book was different from some of the others he has written. It reminded me of Louise Candlish or Mark Edwards. Playing Nice is about a fairly normal couple ending up in a horrible situation. Switched at birth (sounds trite, but it never felt that way in the book - and I've actually never read a book about swapped babies if I'm honest). Maddie and Pete have the situation dropped on them like an anvil and then as their wounds have been treated and it looks like they will recover - they get hit by a train. A train in the form of Miles Lambert. When I read books like these, it is like a nightmare - one that is entirely plausible. The characters are entirely relatable. So, as they struggle through, you find yourself thinking - Holy schnikes! I hope I never end up in a situation like this! I'd be screwed! I'd do exactly the same thing these poor blokes are! Reasonable people dealing with someone who just doesn't play by the rules. It's madly frustrating. And this book built up the frustration beautifully and ended satisfyingly. Loved it! 5 starsThank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for my honest review. blog | gr | pinterest | bloglovin
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  • Tonya
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! Playing Nice is an intense drama about families and what it means to be a family. Does biology dictate family or does nurture? Two infants switched shortly after their birth while in the NICU and it was not discovered until much much later that they had been switched. One is developmentally challenged and one is not... What is the fair thing to do?Now that the boys are two years old, the families lives are uprooted ,turned upside down and inside out as they try to play nice and get along... Wow! Playing Nice is an intense drama about families and what it means to be a family. Does biology dictate family or does nurture? Two infants switched shortly after their birth while in the NICU and it was not discovered until much much later that they had been switched. One is developmentally challenged and one is not... What is the fair thing to do?Now that the boys are two years old, the families lives are uprooted ,turned upside down and inside out as they try to play nice and get along... I have a hard time reading anything about little kiddos and the possibility that something could happen to a child really upsets me....so there were times where I was cringing in this book not because something more horrific had happened but the thought or worry was there. I was on the edge of my seat with all the twists and turns as we dive deep into the characters involved. Very powerful book, surprises throughout the intense read. Thank you to NetGalley, author JP Delaney (one of my favorite authors!) and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for this temporary digital advance review copy for me to read and enjoy. As always, my opinions are my own!
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  • Jessica (BlogEared Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to #netgalley and #randomhouse for the complimentary ARC for an unbiased review. 4 starsThis is the first book I've read by JP Delaney but will not be my last. What a roller coaster! Quick premise overview: 2 babies are switched in NICU (intensive care) and Peter and Maddie find out when their son is 2 years old. The biological parents of Theo- Miles and Lucy have Pete and Maddie's biological son who suffered from developmental delays. Miles tells Peter and Maddie about the baby switch Thank you to #netgalley and #randomhouse for the complimentary ARC for an unbiased review. 4 starsThis is the first book I've read by JP Delaney but will not be my last. What a roller coaster! Quick premise overview: 2 babies are switched in NICU (intensive care) and Peter and Maddie find out when their son is 2 years old. The biological parents of Theo- Miles and Lucy have Pete and Maddie's biological son who suffered from developmental delays. Miles tells Peter and Maddie about the baby switch, the couples become friends and try to make the best out of the situation, and then Miles completely changes.....As a Mom who has lived the last few years in family court over custody issues, this book really grabbed me. Family court is scary and unpredictable and this book had a lot of tense moments because of it. There are some unreliable characters that make you question everything and a terrible villain. What more do you need?
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  • Carol (Bookaria)
    January 1, 1970
    This is a great novel from one of my favorite authors. What would you do if you found out your two-year old son is not actually yours? What if, by mistake, he was swapped up at the hospital by mistake and the parents he has been living with have discovered the error by chance?That is the premise of the novel and the author did a great job developing the story and the characters. The book takes place in the UK and is narrated by the parents of one of the children, Pete and Maddie.I liked the them This is a great novel from one of my favorite authors. What would you do if you found out your two-year old son is not actually yours? What if, by mistake, he was swapped up at the hospital by mistake and the parents he has been living with have discovered the error by chance?That is the premise of the novel and the author did a great job developing the story and the characters. The book takes place in the UK and is narrated by the parents of one of the children, Pete and Maddie.I liked the themes explored in the story, mostly about parenting styles and family relationships. The premise is completely relatable and you can feel the despair and uncertainty that builds up as the story unfolds.Overall, I enjoyed it and recommend it.ARC provided by Publisher via Netgalley
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  • Bandit
    January 1, 1970
    J.P.Delaney and I didn’t always get along, in fact his first few books I found to be about as mediocre as popular thrillers get and then he went and wrote The Perfect Wife, which was freaking excellent, almost as if written by another person altogether. Which is to say, the second I found his latest on Netgalley, I made a request. Just had to find out for myself what he does next, if the quality holds up and so on. And Delaney managed to surprise me yet again by switching gears completely. Which J.P.Delaney and I didn’t always get along, in fact his first few books I found to be about as mediocre as popular thrillers get and then he went and wrote The Perfect Wife, which was freaking excellent, almost as if written by another person altogether. Which is to say, the second I found his latest on Netgalley, I made a request. Just had to find out for myself what he does next, if the quality holds up and so on. And Delaney managed to surprise me yet again by switching gears completely. Which is to say Playing Nice is actually not exactly a thriller. It has all the right elements such as split narrative and a prerequisite twist of two in the end, but otherwise it’s way more subtle than an all out thriller. It’s more of a family drama in fact, one based on an impossible and therefore intriguing proposition…what is the child you have loved and raised as your own for two years turns out to have been switched at birth with another. And what if the other family, no matter how lovely and well to do they seem initially, isn’t quite as decent as you might have hoped. What do you do when the balance shifts, when the other party isn’t being fair, when justice isn’t logical and logic isn’t just? When do you quit playing nice? That’s the main question the couple in the book is faced with. But, of course, there’s so much more going on, the situation is considerably more complex, the couples are on an infinitely different footing going in, The Lamberts are wealthy, The Rileys (not technically so, since they are not married, but close enough for reviewing purposes) are not. Each couple has a different inner dynamic, Miles Lambert is outgoing, charming, gregarious type, his wife a pretty shadow next to him…Maddie has gone through severe postpartum, but is nevertheless tougher than her partner, who as a main caretaker for the child is the milder, steadier, calming presence. In fact, not just of the couple, of the entire book. The man is the sort of decent conscientious person Miles Lamberts of this world tend to steamroll over. It isn’t just a class thing either. This is about genuine psychopathy and the clever thing about it is that it actually features more than once in different contexts. Both are pertaining to parenting, but both go a long way to contribute to the entire nature/nurture debate. So yeah, serious drama most of the way through and then a definitive turn into a thriller territory. Because psychopaths are mostly only likeable when they get their way and if they don’t…all bets are off. SO what you have is a high stakes morality play. Interesting story, makes you think, Delaney’s done some clever things with the plot, but mainly it’s just really emotionally engaging, surprisingly so for a somewhat hyperbolic soap operatic sort of concept.For me, though, it grabbed my interest enough to maintain it the uncharacteristically long time (not at all the book’s fault, just timing) it took to finish it. Loved the ending too, nicely done. Not quite as smart of a book as The Perfect Wife, but really quite good in its own right. Recommended. Thanks Netgalley.
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  • Nicole ☠
    January 1, 1970
    i Am so torn over this book! 80% of me loved this twisted and original psychological thriller while the other 20% unfortunately was yelling at the main character for being so unbelievably naive. And that ending...? I wanted more! Overall I found that once I was properly introduced to all the characters and was only a short ways in to the book, I had easily figured the big ‘who dun it’. Thank god for that final twist at the end which in my opinion was a game changer!!!! So back to the 80%- I did i Am so torn over this book! 80% of me loved this twisted and original psychological thriller while the other 20% unfortunately was yelling at the main character for being so unbelievably naive. And that ending...? I wanted more! Overall I found that once I was properly introduced to all the characters and was only a short ways in to the book, I had easily figured the big ‘who dun it’. Thank god for that final twist at the end which in my opinion was a game changer!!!! So back to the 80%- I did love Maddys characters. I thought even with her flaws that she was relatable and her story was heartbreaking and felt real to me. This story overall was such an edge of your seat, never know what’s going to happen next- and even better , never know who’s going to say what what next! I loved Delaney writing style here. With the breakup of chapters and having court documents and witness accounts. Brilliant, kept it very light and felt fun. Overall I’d still give this 4⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ For you psychological thriller fans- this will be top 5 of 2020I want to thank netgalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for my honest review
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  • Michael David
    January 1, 1970
    This book has sent my anxiety through the roof, and I still feel my heart beating more rapidly than normal at the dark, frustrating, and seemingly plausible tale author J.P. Delaney weaves. Pete and Maddie are in a long term relationship and have a son they love, a two-year old named Theo. Imagine their surprise when one day there’s a knock at the door from a man named Miles, as well as his lawyer, saying their child is actually his, and the child him and his wife have been raising for the past This book has sent my anxiety through the roof, and I still feel my heart beating more rapidly than normal at the dark, frustrating, and seemingly plausible tale author J.P. Delaney weaves. Pete and Maddie are in a long term relationship and have a son they love, a two-year old named Theo. Imagine their surprise when one day there’s a knock at the door from a man named Miles, as well as his lawyer, saying their child is actually his, and the child him and his wife have been raising for the past two years actually belongs to Pete and Maddie. From there, things slowly go from shocking to bad to worse, and what results is a disturbing story so well written that I couldn’t help but feel anger and frustration at the events occurring. It’s also written in such a way that I believe something like this could really happen in our world, which makes it terrifying for those with children. I would highly recommend, as long as you don’t mind a stressful and taut read. J.P. Delaney is a brilliant writer. Thank you to J.P. Delaney, Ballantine Books, and NetGalley for an ARC.
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  • Sherri Thacker
    January 1, 1970
    This is my 3rd book by J.P. Delaney and it grabbed me from the start!! Wow what a gripping book and it kept me on the edge of my seat! Literally!!!! I had so many emotions while I reading this!! And that ending!!! Omg!!!! Wasn’t expecting it at all. A psychological thriller at best!!!! Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this early release in exchange for my honest review. Highly recommend this one!! Due out July 2020. Wow!
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  • Leanna Marie
    January 1, 1970
    One mind-numbing day, one couple gets informed by another couple that their now two-year old boys were seemingly switched while in the NICU.. and here begins the story about psychopaths, psychological abuse, nature vs. nature, and murder. They are seemingly two very different couples, but when it comes to their children, they will show how similar they really can be..Another brilliantly shaped novel by JP Delaney! A subtle, yet mind-blowing psychological thriller that keeps my 5 star ratings for One mind-numbing day, one couple gets informed by another couple that their now two-year old boys were seemingly switched while in the NICU.. and here begins the story about psychopaths, psychological abuse, nature vs. nature, and murder. They are seemingly two very different couples, but when it comes to their children, they will show how similar they really can be..Another brilliantly shaped novel by JP Delaney! A subtle, yet mind-blowing psychological thriller that keeps my 5 star ratings for his books going! Thank you to NetGalley, Random House/Ballantine and the author for this eARC!
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  • Abi
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn't put this down! From the first page I was immediately enthralled and needed to know what happened next! This was so fast paced and the situation was so unique. This is one of the most unique thrillers I've ever read!
  • Georgette
    January 1, 1970
    Couldn't put it down! Much better than the last one by Delaney, which was really out there. This is a return to creepy, spooky form.
  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    JP Delaney's latest offering is a tense and riveting blend of family drama and psychological thriller that explores the emotionally charged feelings and complexities of the dilemma faced by parents in London, making the shocking discovery that their two year old toddler son is not their child, he was mixed up with their actual biological baby at the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital. Stay at home dad, journalist Pete Riley and his long term partner working in advertising, Maddie, are JP Delaney's latest offering is a tense and riveting blend of family drama and psychological thriller that explores the emotionally charged feelings and complexities of the dilemma faced by parents in London, making the shocking discovery that their two year old toddler son is not their child, he was mixed up with their actual biological baby at the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital. Stay at home dad, journalist Pete Riley and his long term partner working in advertising, Maddie, are bringing up their son, Theo, a veritable ball of energy and a real handful, trying to get him to play nice, to share and interact more positively with others, areas he has difficulties with. Their life is derailed when Miles Lambert turns up at their door, informing them that Theo is his and wife, Lucy's son. A secretly carried out DNA test bears this out, not to mention the fact that Theo bears such a strong physical resemblance to Miles. The Lamberts are bringing legal proceedings against the hospital, which triggers an official investigation into what happened there. Initially matters are cordial as Pete and Maddie agree to the well intentioned and understanding civil decision for both couples and the children to get acquainted with and getting to know each other better. The couples are markedly different from each other, the Lamberts are wealthy, Pete and Maddie are more ordinary, struggling to make ends meet. Maddie feels a strong connection to David, her brain damaged son that the Lamberts have raised, a David that will need life long care. However, as it becomes clearer that the psychopathic Miles has every intention of getting hold of Theo, by any means, matters spiral into a living hell for Pete and Maddie.Delaney's character driven novel is markedly different from his previous books, it is a compulsive read that explores the age old debate of nature versus nurture and the family dynamics that ensue upon facing the emotional quagmire of raising a child that apparently turns out to be not biologically their own. The characters are suitably flawed, whilst Miles is utterly reprehensible as a human being in this story of twists and turns. A fascinating roller coaster of a read that touches on mental health issues, what it is to be a parent, deception, secrets, legal issues, abuse and murder. Many thanks to Quercus for an ARC.
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  • Stacey Camp
    January 1, 1970
    **5 Stars**I took a bit of a break from book reviewing due to some health issues and am slowly working my way back to reading and reviewing regularly. When I was approved for J.P. Delaney's Playing Nice , I was super excited to dive in and see what Delaney has cooked up for his readers. I have reviewed his last three books and loved them all. Playing Nice is a bit of a departure from his last three books. I don't mean this in a negative way - it's just a different type of book that looks dee **5 Stars**I took a bit of a break from book reviewing due to some health issues and am slowly working my way back to reading and reviewing regularly. When I was approved for J.P. Delaney's Playing Nice , I was super excited to dive in and see what Delaney has cooked up for his readers. I have reviewed his last three books and loved them all. Playing Nice is a bit of a departure from his last three books. I don't mean this in a negative way - it's just a different type of book that looks deeply at what happens when a child is switched at birth and ends up with the "wrong" biological family. This book spends a good deal of time developing two characters - the parents (Pete and Maddie) of a child, Theo, who they discover is not their biological child. Pete and Maddie's world is shattered when Miles and Lucy, Theo's biological parents, show up unannounced in their lives and reveal the devastating truth that their children were switched at birth.How did Theo get switched at birth? Who is responsible? Nurses? The hospital? Or is it something more sinister, such as one of the parents? I don't want to reveal too much of the plot, but let's just say that Miles and Lucy have ulterior motives in sharing this shocking information with Pete and Maddie. At first, it seems as though Miles and Lucy are good-natured folks who want the hospital responsible for the switch to be held accountable. There are vast class differences between the two families; Miles and Lucy are wealthy, while Pete and Maddie are struggling to get by. Both couples seem to have fractured relationships that also complicate matters. I was super interested in how this complex, unusual situation would unravel and how each of the characters would respond to it.What did I think of this book? I did miss some of the shocking twists and turns of Delaney's last 3 books, but that doesn't mean this book wasn't enjoyable. As I said before, this is a book that is focused on character development more than pulling the rug under readers. Delaney has a real talent for making his characters come to life and feel relatable, no matter what questionable deeds they've committed. There are some surprising twists in this book, but simply not as dramatic in Delaney's previous works. If you enjoy well-crafted characters and a skillfully paced plot, this book is for you!Thank you to the author, J.P. Delaney, the publisher, Random House Publishing, and NetGalley for an advanced reviewer copy of  Playing Nice !For more of my book reviews visit me here: Book Review Blog | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
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  • Tracy Frenette
    January 1, 1970
    Playing Nice by J.P. Delaney Pub Date 07/28/2020What would you do if one day there's a knock at the door and when you open it, there's a man standing there that looks just like your son? Pete and Maddie have just found out that their son belongs to another couple. That somehow when being transferred to the NCIU their baby was switched with Miles and Lucy's son David. That for 2 years they have been raising someone else's child. This poor couple situation goes from bad to worse to worse. What wou Playing Nice by J.P. Delaney Pub Date 07/28/2020What would you do if one day there's a knock at the door and when you open it, there's a man standing there that looks just like your son? Pete and Maddie have just found out that their son belongs to another couple. That somehow when being transferred to the NCIU their baby was switched with Miles and Lucy's son David. That for 2 years they have been raising someone else's child. This poor couple situation goes from bad to worse to worse. What would you do in this situation? Return the child you've been raising? Try to keep him? Well dive into Pete and Maddie story to see how they handle this situation. Wow what a great story😯. 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced readers copy for an honest review of Playing Nice. J.P. Delaney is a favorite of mine!
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  • Patricia Romero
    January 1, 1970
    The day Pete Riley answers his front door to find a stranger standing there will lead to a nightmare that any parent would unbearable.Miles Lambert is the one giving Pete this news. Turns out Theo, Pete, and Maddies' son is actually not their son at all. He belongs to the Lambert family and their son is actually Pete and Maddies.Stunned and shell shocked, Pete and Maddie go along with Miles' idea to sue the hospital as David, the other child will need life long care. And Miles is one pushy dude. The day Pete Riley answers his front door to find a stranger standing there will lead to a nightmare that any parent would unbearable.Miles Lambert is the one giving Pete this news. Turns out Theo, Pete, and Maddies' son is actually not their son at all. He belongs to the Lambert family and their son is actually Pete and Maddies.Stunned and shell shocked, Pete and Maddie go along with Miles' idea to sue the hospital as David, the other child will need life long care. And Miles is one pushy dude. He wants them to all get along and each get to know their own child. Or does he? Why can't they just swap the children back? What does Miles know that they don't?Miles is a gaslighter. He gaslights his own wife, who is terrified of him. When Pete and Maddie begin questioning Miles's motives, he sues them, threatening to take both boys until someone steps up and does the right thing. No more nice guys here. Now they are going to find out who stole the baby and what horrible things are going on in that house!Domestic Suspense at it's best!NetGalley/ July 28th, 2020 by Ballantine Books
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  • Jordy’s Book Club
    January 1, 1970
    QUICK TAKE: I absolutely loved this twisted thriller about two couples who accidentally switched babies at birth. Super dark and captivating and hard not to put yourself in the characters' shoes as to what you would do in a similar situation. the ending is a little quiet, but overall I really enjoyed this one...probably my favorite of JP Delaney's.
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