Tuesday, December 10, 2019


Title: Here Lies Daniel Tate
Author: Cristin Terrill
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 400
My GoodReads Rating: ⭐⭐

Daniel Tate, son of a packaging heiress, was kidnapped from his luxurious neighbourhood in California when he was only ten years old. Now, 16 years later, he has been found in Canada. He doesn’t remember most of his earlier life, but his family is patient and willing to give him time.

His half-siblings, in particular, Patrick and Alexis McConnell, children of his mom from her first marriage, fly to Canada to pick him up. Younger sister Mia who was a baby when he was taken also begins to love him dearly. It is only mother Jessica and older brother Nicholas who entertain doubts about him.

But the truth is that Daniel isn’t Daniel at all. He is just a scammer who has stumbled upon the scam of a lifetime. Unimaginable wealth and the chance to escape his horrible past, including a mother who doesn’t love him. As long as he manages to evade suspicion, a life of luxury is his. But then he learns that he is not the only one hiding secrets and lies. 

Somebody in the family knows exactly what happened to Daniel, the real Daniel, and unless he finds out who that is and what fate befell the hapless boy, a terrible fate awaits him. But will he be able to get away with impersonating Daniel Tate, or does danger await him?

We never learn the name of the narrator whose first person past tense account this is. The details about his early life are sketchy at best, but it doesn’t matter. We are shocked by the audacity of this stranger in attempting this scam, and we become co-conspirators almost, waiting to see what happens next. Whether he can pull this off, or whether we will see his downfall.

I found the story going on a tad bit too long. Several chapters went by before the pretend-Daniel figured out that he was not the only one who was playacting. The plot could have been paced better if most of those instances were cut out.

The ending wasn’t what I expected, and I wasn’t too happy with how the author chose to wind up events. I suppose I was expecting people to get what they deserved, but that’s not how things ended up here.

The idea is apparently based on a true story, and I liked the manner in which the author adapted a true story into a thriller.

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