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The Devils' Cradle

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On Australia’s island state, more than one species of Tasmanian Devil exists...

Beneath the surface of Nina Holt’s perfect marriage lurks a life of terror inflicted upon her by her politically powerful husband Michael and his brother Greg, a sadistic detective. For over a decade they have managed to keep Nina imprisoned, using her to satisfy their every whim.

Worse still, the only light in her life—her 9-year-old son, Sam—considers Michael a hero. When Sam imitates Michael’s violence by lashing out at her, Nina knows it’s time for both of them to escape before Sam truly turns into the monster Michael is grooming him to become.

After crashing her car in her haste to escape, kind motorist Case Herder offers her help. Unaware that he has his own plans for her, Nina accepts, igniting a deadly game of cat and mouse as they flee across Tasmania with Sam.

As Michael and Greg relentlessly hunt them down to Cradle Mountain, Nina finds herself with nowhere left to run. Cornered, she has no choice but to face evil head-on.

474 pages, ebook

First published January 15, 2014

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About the author

Darcy Daniel

3 books68 followers
I've loved reading from an early age and fell in love with many genres, but was drawn most of all to thrillers and romances - leaving me thrilled when I won the Charter Oak Golden Acorn contest for Best Contemporary Series Romance.
​​
I live on acreage in a cottage with my family and energetic dog. With friends and family close by, I enjoy country life in the picturesque, historic town of Windsor in Sydney, Australia.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 91 reviews
Profile Image for Karla.
986 reviews1,089 followers
January 8, 2014

4.5 Gripping Stars!! Excellent psychological thriller! Bravo Darcy Daniel!

Review to follow...

* A copy of this book was provided by the author via The Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for ✿Nancy✿.
116 reviews37 followers
April 1, 2019
DING DING DING!!! WE'VE GOT A WINNER HERE!

Finally, Finally a book I love. I have been having horrible luck thus far. So happy to have read a book that truly deserves ALL THE STARS! I recommend this book to anyone who isn't faint of heart for it does have dark subject matter.
Profile Image for Kathy Cunningham.
Author 4 books9 followers
January 10, 2014
Darcy Daniel’s THE DEVILS’ CRADLE is one sizzling novel, with great characters, a break-neck pace, plenty of sex and romance, and a pair of villains every bit as depraved as Hannibal Lecter.

The novel begins with two separate stories, which quickly merge into one. First, Nina Holt wants desperately to escape her abusive husband and his brutally vicious brother, both of whom have been holding her a prisoner in her own home for over a decade. Husband Michael Holt just happens to be the Premier of Tasmania (the Australian equivalent of a state Governor in the US) and his brother Greg is Detective Inspector (pretty much the Chief of Police), which means they’re both powerful and influential enough to keep Nina in check. But when she sees her nine-year-old son Sam behaving in ways that mirror his abusive father, she knows she must risk everything to escape.

The second story revolves around ex-cop Case Herder, who is determined to solve his wife’s two-year-old murder. Julie’s blood-soaked car was found abandoned along a deserted road, with no sign of her body. The detective in charge of the case just happened to be Greg Holt, who went after Case as the prime suspect. As the novel begins, Case comes across evidence suggesting Greg may have been involved in what happened to Julie. He and Nina eventually join forces against Michael and Greg, although both are keeping secrets, and neither is aware of how dastardly the Holt brothers actually are. Case, investigating Greg and Michael in pursuit of the truth about his wife, just happens to show up in time to help Nina and Sam. They form an uneasy partnership, one that slowly develops into romantic feelings both of them try to deny. And through it all, they are pursued by an enraged Michael and a depraved Greg.

Those who have seen the 1991 film “Sleeping with the Enemy” will be familiar with Nina’s predicament. Michael is controlling, physically and sexually abusive, and demeaning to his wife, even in front of Sam. She has learned over the years to follow his rules, many of which deny her access to her son, and all of which are designed to trap her in ways that guarantee punishment. And it’s not only Michael who punishes Nina, but his brother Greg as well. And their punishments are brutal and degrading. As hard as it is to read the scenes where these men are abusing Nina, it’s even harder to hear her young son berate her, call her useless, and mock her to please his father. It takes courage she doesn’t even know she has to flee her home with Sam – not so much to save herself as to save him from becoming his father’s son.

This is a sexually explicit novel, both in language and in graphic descriptions. Daniel holds no punches in describing the abuse dished out by the Holt brothers, but the scenes are necessary for the reader to understand just who these perverted men are. She also provides enough background information on the brothers to make their behavior believable, if not forgivable (we get why they’re doing what they’re doing, but that does nothing to make it less reprehensible). Nina’s initial inability to fight for herself is also believable, as is her son’s attachment to a father who has taught him from birth that women are useless creatures good for little beyond housework and cooking.

This is also a romantic novel, with enough heart to counteract the brutality of Nina’s life with Michael. There is a subtle beauty in her growing closeness to Case, and in the slow awakening of her own sexual desires – this is a woman who has never known a loving relationship, never felt gentleness in the arms of a man. Daniel wisely doesn’t rush their romance, and she never allows the reader to forget how much Nina has suffered and how difficult it is for her to trust any man.

The ending of DEVILS’ CRADLE, which unfolds at a place in Tasmania called Cradle Mountain, is terrifying, exciting, and ultimately satisfying. This isn’t the kind of book where the guy on the white horse saves the damsel in distress – it’s much more than that. One thing Nina learns is that she’s strong enough to fight for herself, and fight she does. She surprised me at the end of this book, but in ways that are real and totally believable. She’s a great character, made even greater because of how much she has to overcome. And the final resolution of her relationship with Case is both honest and true.

THE DEVILS’ CRADLE is a good choice for readers looking for a sexually-charged, fast-paced thriller. Daniel is a talented writer – she had me from the first page! Great story, great characters, great ending. Highly recommended.

[Please note: I was provided a copy of this book for review; the opinions expressed here are my own.]
Profile Image for Julie .
3,975 reviews58.9k followers
February 19, 2015
This novel rocks along at turbo speed from beginning to end and had me holding my Kindle with white knuckles. A word of warning though, this story is not for the faint of heart. It is very dark and there are several disturbing passages that were difficult to read, so viewer discretion is advised. I love it when a woman finds the strength deep inside her battered self to pull herself up and do whatever she must to save herself and her child. I also love a strong man with a strong definition of what is right and wrong, and Case was that kind of guy. It was vast relief to know Nina and her son will learn there are good men in this world, and heaven knows this trio deserves true love and stability, plus Sam will have a real dad in his life so he will grow up normally and will learn both love and respect for his mother. 4.5 rounded to 5

This review is the property of Night Owl Reviews- to read the review in it's entirety go to: http://www.nightowlreviews.com
Profile Image for Pamela .
1,417 reviews72 followers
December 20, 2014
I absolutely loved “The Devil’s Cradle.” Right from the start the novel just grabbed me. I was totally mesmerized. I eagerly kept reading on never wanting to take a break. “The Devil’s Cradle” is a riveting, engaging, and chilling tale of a woman held prisoner in her home, being mentally, physically and sexually abused at the hands of not only her cold-hearted, vicious husband, Michael, but also by Michael’s brother, Greg, whom Michael encourages to do as he pleases with his wife, Nina.* You can feel Nina’s deep-rooted fears, the mental anguish, the despair of being continuously tortured by Michael, then to watch in horror as her nine-year old son, Sam, starts acting like his father who he looks upon as a hero.

Darcy Daniel (“Daniel”) also delivers a well-written and truly engaging and compelling story about Case and his missing wife, Julie. Just when Case is finally coming to terms that Julie, who’s been missing for two years, is most probably dead, Case discovers something that not only reveals just who the killer might be, that he also didn’t know his wife as well as he thought he did. His search for answers brings Case to Nina’s front door. Like myself, Case and Nina are two people who you’ll fall in love with; Case especially as he’s he just an amazing individual.

Never have villains ever come across as so evil, twisted, sadistic, and powerful as Michael and Greg Holt, two brothers cut from the same cloth. You’ll absolutely detest these two as much as I did. Michael is the Premier of Tasmania, and his brother Greg is a Detective Inspector. Nothing and no one gets in their way of everything and anything they so wish or desire. I absolutely loved reading about the brothers’ relationship with their father, Larry; about when they were growing up, and their interaction then and at present as their father is still alive living in an old age home. As much as I hated Larry, I do admit I felt a little bad for him as to how he was living out his final days. As evil as they both Michael and Greg are, it was quite interesting to see how different they were from each other, and how each brother thought they had more power over the other one. As nasty as these two brothers were, every word written about them was truly entertaining.

I loved the two scenes near the end where Michael, after trying his best to control his rage towards Nina and Greg that’s been building up, he loses it completely in front of police officers and on national television for all to see. Regardless of all this, Michael still believes that nothing or no one can touch him and or hurt him; that he’s still loved and respected by all because of who he is, all the money he has, all the power that he believes he wields, and the fact that he’s the Premier.

When I reached the end, I was actually hoping to read the hell Michael found himself to be in; his thoughts as to where he ends up. No matter, the ending worked well. A big thank you to the author for not ending the novel where the two protagonists end up declaring their love for each other, which only made this novel come across as more believable and realistic. This is truly a terrific thriller that should be read by all. Indeed what a thrill ride. I couldn’t get enough. When reading the ending, my first thought was the story was too short; that there had to be more. That’s how much I truly enjoyed this novel. One of the best books I’ve read for 2014.

*(Please note that the abuse Nina endures from Michael and Greg are quite graphic, and most likely will disturb some.)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for KathyAnne.
570 reviews84 followers
January 5, 2015
This story was so good! I've had this book sitting in my review pile for a while and when I finally dove in I just could not put it down! It is a long book but it didn't feel that way at all... a real page turner, very engaging, and definitely kept me on the edge of my seat.
Remember that movie "Sleeping With the Enemy" with Julia Roberts?? This had that kind of feel to it... Nina was very much the trophy wife to everyone looking in but the truth behind what was really going on was a well hidden secret. Michael, her husband, controlled every aspect of Nina's life and kept her prisoner. He was abusive, vindictive and mean. His brother Greg was even worse and he and Michael keep a tight reign on Nina. These two were easy to hate. Michaels's bad influence over her son empowered her to run and I was really rooting for Nina's freedom. I got a little teary eyed at some of Nina's first moments of freedom. Can't say what they were... it would ruin those moments for YOU!
This book does have a couple of scenes in the first part of the book that are a little explicit when she is being punished by Michael and violated by his brother Greg. Just FYI in case you are sensitive to this type of content. Once Nina escapes however, the story moves from victim to Nina's fight for her freedom and a chance to keep her son from becoming like the monsters who kept her in captivity. There is also a budding romance that develops between her and ex-police officer Case. Case has his suspicions about Greg and his possible connection to the disappearance and murder of his wife. Case is hoping Nina can help him find evidence of Greg's involvement but he gets a little more than he bargained for... especially when dealing with the little boy that has been raised to disrespect his mother.
This was the part of the book that moved me more than anything... the smack talk that came out of that kid's mouth was painful to hear as a mother. I felt Nina's pain... Michael was conditioning him to believe that his mother was useless. Escaping was the only way for Nina to hopefully gain the respect that she wants and needs from her son.
Case has his own story as well as the disappearance and murder of his wife was never resolved. It was his belief that Greg was somehow involved in her murder that led him to cross paths with Nina and step up to help her escape. I was so proud of him for his patience with Nina and being her knight in shining armor in every way she needed him to be... just brought tears to my eyes. He was a very positive influence on her son as well.
If you like a thrilling story line and don't mind a little bit of dark content... I highly recommend this book. I lOVED it... :)

Thanks so much to the author for the complimentary copy! Sorry it took so long for me to read it...

www.ktbookreviews.com
Profile Image for Dennis Cardiff.
Author 4 books499 followers
April 3, 2015
The Devil's Cradle by Darcy Daniel is a thrilling suspense novel. The reader is drawn into the plot by the fact that Nina Holt has been held prisoner in her own home for ten years. Previous escape attempts led to brutal punishment by her husband Michael and his brother Greg.

A second plot line develops as Case Herder, an ex-cop, discovers a lead in the two year old murder case of his wife. This lead involves Nina's brother-in-law Greg. Herder wonders if Nina can provide answers to some of his questions.

Nina and Case are brought together when, in trying to escape, she and her son are involved in a car crash. Case is the first motorist on the scene and offers the pair a ride and an offer of assistance. Nina doesn't trust him, but accepts his offer since no other alternative is available. Case needs to earn her trust In order to connect Greg with his wife's murder.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the subtle changes in the relationship between Case and Nina. Her past brutalization by Mike and Greg has stripped her of her self assurance and caused her to fear all men. In her we see the effects of spousal abuse which has become a world epidemic.

Gradually, Nina evolves from a victim, to not only a survivor, but an independent woman capable of providing a livelihood for herself and her son. This is a testament to all women caught in an abusive relationship.
Profile Image for Anna.
1,423 reviews16 followers
March 31, 2014
And I thought my family was nuts! :)

Michael Holt, wealthy Tasmanian Premiere, has a secret. Or four. He and his older brother Greg, a highly positioned police inspector, are both killers. Only that isn't the worst thing they are guilty of. They both abuse and hold Michael's wife, Nina, against her will. The breaking point for Nina is when she realizes her 9yo son, Sam, is turning into a monster like his dad.

Case Herder, a former police officer, has been searching for his wife's murderer for two years when he finally stumbles upon a clue while cleaning out her clothes in an effort to move on. Suspecting Greg Holt of his wife's murder, Case bugs the Holt brothers cell phones and overhears Nina being raped and beaten by the brothers. Hoping Nina can help him prove Greg the killer he ends up helping her and her son escape from the twisted brothers.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a terrific break from the usual stuff I read. While it deals with abuse and rape, it isn't as graphic as others out there I have read. I really enjoyed witnessing Nina regain herself and evolve through the story.
Profile Image for Rhonda.
74 reviews
January 10, 2014
I read Darcy Daniel’s other book and thought I’d give this one a try even though it’s quite different. Result = I could hardly put it down! It sucked me in right from the start and never let up. I’m a big fan of Sandra Brown and found this just as good as her books. If you love staying awake all night, I definitely recommend this one.
Profile Image for Karen111.
1,141 reviews57 followers
March 23, 2014
4.5 Stars

Wow, what a little gem of a read, which I was lucky enough to stumble upon by accident on Goodreads. I would describe this book as a romantic thriller, but is equally dark and disturbing, with lots of twists and turns.

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Nina Holt is being held captive in her own home by her husband (Tasmanian Premier) Michael, and is used and abused by him and his even more vile brother, Greg (a local detective). Nina and Michael have a nine year old son together, Sam, who Michael schools daily about how useless women are. Nina's scared to try and escape, but when Sam hits her one night, her mind is made up. Escape before Sam completely turns into his father.

Ex-detective Case Herder is barely existing since his wife Julie's disappearance and suspected murder two years previously. When he discovers some evidence while clearing away some of Julie's things, he follows it up with some detective work, and finds out more than he was expecting. Suddenly he, Nina and Sam are on the run, and an intricate game of cat and mouse begins.
**********

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This was fast paced, edgy and very tense at times, and with some great reveals along the way (even a great one at 94% - wasn't expecting THAT)! Both Case and Nina's personal torment is heartbreaking, and I was rooting for them the whole time. The book felt realistic to me, and I liked how the author didn't have Nina falling into bed with Case the first chance she had, which would totally have gone against the actions of an abused, frightened and traumatised woman, I feel.

Michael and Greg were vile human beings, and the dynamics into their relationship was twisted from a very young age due to an abusive father and an absent mother. They trusted no-one, not even each other, and I loved how things unfolded for them.

There was no sex between Case and Nina, and to be honest I was so engrossed in the story that I didn't even miss it! BUT, there's an additional Bonus Epilogue that the author will email to you (email link is at the end of the book), and that provides us with a more intimate insight into Case and Nina, and is a great little bonus.

I loved Case! What a great male lead! He was a gentleman through and through, and it was good to see him in action throughout the movie. The author's writing style was flawless and tight. There were POV's from ALL lead characters, so we got to see into the minds of Michael and Greg also, which was disturbingly great.

My only complaint is a strange one! I know Nina's son Sam was brainwashed by his asshole of a father, but there were times when I wanted to give him a kick up the ass over the way he spoke to his mother! He annoyed me so much, and on occasion, I wanted her to drop him back home, and go off into the sunset with Case! Lol!

But otherwise I loved this, and I look forward to reading more from this talented author.

Profile Image for Star.
1,288 reviews64 followers
April 7, 2014
Nina Holt didn’t start out life as the polished and poised woman she appears to be today. She was a runaway junkie thief who was caught by the wrong man – Michael Holt. He decided to take his new find and mold her into his perfect slave. A man high on the political totem pole, Michael is above suspicion, even if not everyone agrees with his politics. His brother, Greg, is a high-ranking police officer. Yet the Holt brothers are so much more – sadistic manipulators and criminals. Nina’s only light in her life is her son, Sam, but Michael makes sure Sam knows his mother’s (and every other woman’s) place in the world. When Sam starts to take after his father, Nina knows it’s time to leave and hope they make it out there. Enter Case Herder – Nina’s erstwhile rescuer who has his own grudge against Greg Holt. When the chips are down and Nina’s cornered, will she make the right decisions to save herself and her son?

Set in Tasmania, THE DEVILS’ CRADLE is a story of revenge, redemption, and a mother’s strength. Nina Holt has been abused within an inch of her life by the one person who should love and cherish her – her husband, Michael. Michael knows his political power holds him above the law and when people get too close his brother helps him do the dirty work. Michael and Greg are pieces of work (to stay PG) who have had no one to check them since adulthood. The author made them so despicable and easily hated that even when the reader finds out how they became that way, there is no sympathy. Case Herder, on the other hand, is a very sympathetic character even with some of the choices he’s made. The only thing which stood out with me for Nina was her deep and unconditional love for her son and her commitment to do whatever it took to keep him safe. She did do a lot of growing during the story and seeing the positive changes in Sam was uplifting. THE DEVILS’ CRADLE is a taut and graphic psychological thriller which will have you looking over your shoulder and reading with the lights on!
Profile Image for M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews.
3,993 reviews314 followers
October 23, 2017
I was thoroughly impressed with this book. I have read various thrillers by different authors like James Patterson, Dean Koontz, Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, et al.

This book definitely stands out as one of the best of the genre I have ever read. The author manages to avoid so many of the cliche tropes that big-name authors fall into, and the plotline itself also has more originality than many thrillers I've read (despite the main character being an abused housewife)

The author makes 'the abused housewife escape her abuse' into a novel and interesting plot that would make for a solid thriller movie instead of the usual cliched Lifetime movie, and she also spins a novel approach to Nina's abuser(s) and really paints a vivid picture on how her abusers manage to keep her penned in for so long. The incentive for Nina to escape from this situation is also very realistic and well-done, and one I have never seen before, so congratulations to the author for keeping me riveted from beginning to end.

There are also several twists to this story I did not see coming. Sometimes, when people try to avoid mistakes or cliches, they end up making other mistakes or cliches, but this author deftly avoids these traps and makes for an engaging novel with utterly believable characters that had me turning the pages - I literally finished this book within the span of 24 (well, more like 21) hours.

The ending also avoids some of the cliches and tropes that I all too often see in other endings, and overall I found it very satisfying, especially Nina's final confrontation(s) with her husband. Overall, a book I would highly recommend.
Profile Image for Myeve123.
41 reviews4 followers
January 9, 2014
I hesitated to give the book a try because a) the cover could use some work and b) I wasn't sure I could handle the level of violence the book promised. But something about the premise compelled me, so I read it and it didn't disappoint.

All the elements in this story work together to form a cohesive and gripping story. I root for Nina, the wife of an abusive politician. At first I didn't understand why didn't she run from him. And then I knew, the person she loves is the one who ties her and prevents her from leaving. But she loves him all the same and she endures hell for him, so that she could save him from that place when she is ready. The person is Sam, her son, and maternal love is the strongest bond ever, so I liked the high stakes and rewards in this story. I was worried that it was too late for Nina, that Sam was thoroughly brainwashed, but the boy shows her sparks of love so her fight and struggle are worth it.

I liked that we can follow each character's pov and they are all well written. The reasoning, the mistrust, the response, all add in to the thick suspense. The romance sub plot is at the right pace and doesn't take over the story. I skimmed over the explicit violence, but overall the book is a gem. The resolution is satisfying, Nina certainly earns it. A good read.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
Profile Image for Belynda.
249 reviews
December 8, 2016
Overall a good book and a great story line! I couldn't wait to see what happened next. I do find it hard to believe that a held, abused woman for 10 years, would have sex and love on her mind while on the run from her husband (captor) and his brother. While this does not deter from the story, it was always in the back of my mind. I will look for other books by Darcy.
272 reviews1 follower
July 24, 2016
Great read. Wasn't crazy about the abuse scenes but it helped you understand the character and her motivation for running. She was a very strong person and it surprised me that she handled both men on her own at the end.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
July 14, 2014
Fantastic book.

Fantastic book.

It was absolutely amazing, I had trouble putting it down. It is definitely a book that will stick with you for a good long while.
Profile Image for Zane Pinner.
Author 8 books19 followers
January 9, 2023
I enjoyed the balance of crime, thriller and romance in this story.

Whilst the setup stretches the boundaries of credibility - I would love to believe that we could have a Tasmanian Premier as dark and secretive as Michael - the story plays out with satisfying twists and action. I also really liked how irredeemable Greg was, but I did have a cackle at some of his more 'evil' moments.

Nina's journey was fantastic and it was easy to cheer her on. Case Herder, on the other hand, was the least interesting character in my opinion and seemed like a bit of a wet blanket, a kind of anti-macho cop prop - I would have preferred to stay with Nina and to watch her getting by without him.

All in all, this book really drew me in and while the dark elements appealed to me more than the blooming romance, I thought the balance was fair and contributed to it becoming a solid page turner. I look forward to checking out more of Darcy's work.
92 reviews2 followers
April 14, 2017
Very enjoyable read!

Thanks to Nina's boldness and faith in herself she changed her world for the better! Of course Casey & Sam helped!!!
Profile Image for Heidi.
500 reviews17 followers
January 22, 2019
I love suspendeful thrillers and this one was great, but not for the faint of heart. I found myself sucked into this while I should've been doing homework or sleeping! 😜
Profile Image for Mary.
11 reviews
January 11, 2017
This is a well paced easy book to read. Like other reviews, I would have been happy without the romance storyline but the author maybe felt it was natural to allow the story to go in that direction. It also appeals to a greater audience when you add the romance bit. It's definitely entertaining but not exactly thought provoking.
Profile Image for Sharanya.
158 reviews34 followers
December 12, 2014
Terrifying and Emotional!!!

The Devil’s Cradle by Darcy Daniel narrates the brutal tale of Nina Holt. To the outside world Nina leads the perfect life – a world of immense comfort, wealth and luxury as she is the wife of the Premier of Tasmania, Michael Holt. But the truth that is reveled to us is much more torrid and brutal. As a teenager Nina had run away from home and gotten hooked on drugs. To fund her habit, she and her boyfriend began to steal from wealthy people’s home. When she was caught stealing from Michael’s home, her world turned upside down.
For the next decade she is kept captive by a sadistic Michael and his equally masochistic brother Greg. Nina is beaten, tortured and sexually assaulted for years. But what keeps Nina going is her son Sam and the dream that one day she would escape from her misery. Meanwhile we also meet Casey Herder, widower and ex-cop who has not yet come to terms with his wife, Julie’s death as he was never able to solve and catch the perpetrator. While cleaning out Julie’s belongings Case discovers a hidden phone belonging to Julie where he reads messages exchanged between Julie and Greg. Suspecting Greg’s involvement Julie’s disappearance, he decides to investigate and find the truth.
And that is when Case and Nina’s world’s collide. Case decides to tap into Greg and Michael’s phones to uncover any clues. Unfortunately he overhears Greg and Michael’s torturous assault on Nina. The very next morning Nina escapes with Sam and the money she has stolen and accumulated from Michael. But unfortunately, she crashes the car and Case comes and rescues them as he’d been hovering around Michael’s house.
How Case, Nina and Sam try to escape from their precarious situation forms the rest of the narrative. We also learn that the genesis of Greg and Michael’s violent selves came from their abusive father, Larry and their mother who ran away leaving them to their father’s mercy. This knowledge is shocking but it still doesn’t make you sympathize with them.
Nina’s interaction and how much she struggles to reach out to her son Sam (who has been brain-washed for years by Michael that women are weak and not capable of doing anything) was heart-breaking to read. Case reconnecting with his in-laws (Julie’s parents, David and Emma) was beautifully detailed. And of course Nina and Case’s growing attraction, trust, respect and love for each other was such an emotional journey. How they help each other to deal with their issues and overcome them was incredible.
All in all ‘The Devil’s Cradle’ made for one terrifying but extremely moving and aching tale. Just a word of caution, the rape, torture and murder scenes are explicit and very, very, very hard to process and not meant for the light-hearted. But sadly it just iterates what an ugly world we live in.
Profile Image for Lisa.
451 reviews4 followers
January 10, 2017
Holy Snaps!!!!! Awesome book! Let me just give you the ending!!! Best ending ever!! "The End..........But,"

Come on with book 2, I can't wait".
35 reviews2 followers
January 8, 2017
Suspenseful

I could not put this book down. I liked all the twists and turns. Two really bad guys and a wife seeking justice. Excellent reading. Read the whole book in one day.
Profile Image for Pat.
2,310 reviews384 followers
January 15, 2017
This was quite a long book but it had me gripped throughout. Nina is married to Michael Holt, Premier of Tasmania (a state of Australia and the Premier heads the government of that state). She has a 9 year old son, Sam, and life is good - yeah? NO! Michael is a sadistic woman hater and sexual abuser, aided and abetted by his police Inspector brother, Greg. They "discovered" Nina when she was a drug addicted teenager robbing houses to score her next fix. Her gang had targeted Michael's house thinking he was away, but he wasn't and he caught Nina. Michael and Greg decided to "keep" her, straighten her out and train her that a woman's place is doing whatever the hell her man wants her to do and how he wants it or suffer the consequences.

Now she is a virtual prisoner and sexual slave within her house. She has no contact with the outside world apart from rare "appearances" with her husband where she must be on her best behaviour. She puts up with this for the sake of her son but is secretly planning her escape. Her biggest fear is that her sweet son will grow to be like his father and she will not allow that.

But beating and raping Nina are not the only bad things the Holt brothers have done. And Nina knows where the bodies are buried. Enter Case Herder, a former policeman whose wife Julie was murdered two years ago, her body never found. He has not stopped searching for her killer. He eventually finds clues that his suspicion of Greg Holt is justified and takes steps to find the hard evidence.

At the same time Nina makes her bid for freedom. Long story short Nina and Sam hook up with Case and are on the run as any attempt to seek help from the police will lead straight back to Greg Holt. Nina's only hope is to reach the mainland away from Greg's influence. But all is not cosy with the fugitives as they are not being entirely honest with each other (are they ever)?

This is a fast paced thriller with a bit of romance thrown in (not too much thankfully). The depictions of the violence visited on Nina are horrific however and serve to remind us that domestic violence knows no class boundaries. It would be easy to say that Michael's character was overdone but the many that have suffered at the hands of their partners would tell you otherwise. Nina copes amazingly well and you can't help rooting for her as she fights for her freedom, her life and her son's future. An entertaining but sobering read.
Profile Image for William Davis.
Author 3 books15 followers
March 18, 2014
I took a chance on a $.99 offering of The Devil’s Cradle. Boy, am I glad I did! This was a great thriller with a compelling plot and characters that you’ll get to know in depth. The heroine and hero are truly admirable and courageous. The villains are utterly despicable.

Rescued off the street from a life of drug addiction and prostitution, Nina is saved by a powerful man who makes her his wife. But does she live happily ever after? Not hardly. Nina becomes his slave and an object of his ridicule. Not only does he physically and sexually abuse Nina, but her husband shares her sexually with his sadistic police officer brother. The only thing saving her sanity is the love of her young son, who is slowly being transformed by his father into a miniature version of himself.

Though brave, Nina has been shut out from the outside world (she doesn’t even know how to drive a car. She’s not allowed any friends or access to the media or phone). Nina finally determines she must escape her prison of existence and rescue her son from becoming his father. Enter Case, a former police detective who was falsely accused of killing his wife. Though never convicted, he’s lived under a shadow of suspicion while planning revenge against the man he knows killed her, Nina’s sadistic brother-in-law.

Fate brings Case and Nina together, Case helping in a flight to freedom motivated by his hatred for her brother-in-law. From this point it becomes predator versus prey as Case seeks to get Nina to safety.

Author Daniel has the ability to get the reader under the skin of her main characters. You feel what they feel and experience what they do. This provides an absorbing story in a book that you won’t want to put down.

One word of caution to more sensitive readers. There is a graphic rape scene that leaves nothing to the imagination. Also a couple of sexual encounters that are detailed as well. Don’t let those stop you from reading this book—just skip over them if you choose. This is an extremely well-written thriller that will have you cheering for Nina and Case.
5 reviews
January 2, 2017
Fantastic

Couldn't put this book down! The storyline was fast paced and I stayed up all night reading it. Will be looking for more books by this author!!!
Profile Image for IndieHeart.
49 reviews4 followers
July 25, 2016
First off -- this book does not pull punches with the graphic content or "bad language". Scenes of violence and sexual abuse of women are graphically depicted. If this kind of content is upsetting for you, you don't want to read it.

That said, this story of a woman (Nina) trapped in an extremely abusive marriage who finally finds the courage to try to run away when her 9 year old son begins to be exactly like his father. Her husband, the Tasmanian Premier, and his equally psychopathic brother, a powerful member of the police force, have been abusing her physically and sexually for years. She receives some unexpected help in her efforts when a man who believes the evil psycho brother murdered his wife offers to help her because he needs her help to find out the truth. Of course, he doesn't tell her that right away.

I liked the author's writing style: the book was easy to read and had good flow without being simplistic. The author did a great job with the psychological motivations of each of the characters, and the situations and people felt real, which makes this book top notch.

At times the relationship between Nina and Case got a little too romance-y for me. They were, after all, hiding out hoping not be killed which definitely wouldn't make me feel amorous. However, I liked that the book did not shift full focus to that relationship and instead remained with Nina's growth, increasing courage and strength, and her efforts to heal the emotional damage done to her son, because the author really had me pulling for Nina learning how to make it on her own.

A note for American readers -- the author is Australian, so you will see British spellings such as "tyres" for "tires" and "mould" for "mold". These are not typos! There are also a few Aussie slang words but you should be able to pick those up from context.
Profile Image for Romina.
94 reviews7 followers
January 24, 2014
From the outside you’d think Nina Holt’s life was perfect, married to a politically powerful man, a young son and a beautiful home in Tasmania.
Behind closed doors she is terrorised by Michael Holt her Husband and Greg his equally sadistic Brother.
They seize every available chance to abuse her and force her to obey their every whim.
An abuse she suffers away from the gaze of her son, who dotes on his Father.
Kept away from everybody she has nobody to turn to, she begins to plot her escape.
When by chance her son Sam spots Greg leaving her bedroom Nina knows it’s finally time to go.

What can I say except Wow! This book deserves every one of my 5 stars and more.
Don’t be fooled by the title to this book, it may infer something to do with The Devil but believe me it is nothing to do with the underworld.
When you deal with such an important issue as domestic violence you are opening yourself to a whole world of emotional conflict.
This book takes you through an array of them and I loved it!
The violence and emotional terrorism inflicted on this wonderfully strong character is written exceptionally well. The vindictive nature of the two brothers is incredibly done and you really do feel worried for this woman.
I was equally impressed with the emotional fight her son goes through while Nina lets him make his own decisions about his Father, a child’s emotional wellbeing is paramount though this story and is handled delicately and in a way that is believable.
This book will take you on a journey full of fear, hope and love and I hope every reader enjoys it as much as I did.
Copy Supplied For Review.
Profile Image for Victoria Rainey.
512 reviews7 followers
August 1, 2014
Romancebookworm's Reviews

Nina Holt’s life and marriage seems picture perfect from the outside. However, inside, Nina lives a life that can only be called hell. She is cut off from the world around her. She cannot even watch TV, read the news or even leave the house. Her life is cooking, cleaning and taking care of her son, Sam. Nina endures thinking she is giving her son the best life she can. It also leaves her scared about the world beyond the walls of her home. How can she cope will all the things she does not know how to do, like make decisions, and drive a car?

Case Herder was accused of murdering his wife, and while charges were dropped against him. Case makes it his life’s work to find out who killed his wife. All roads seem to lead to Greg and Michael Holt. But without any proof all Case has is suspicion. When case sees Nina try and run away from home with her son he helps in home of getting answers he needs.

Michael Holt is Nina’s husband. His attitude toward woman in general are very bad. He puts Nina and women in general down every chance he can. Even punishing her whenever he can. Greg Holt is Michael’s older brother and much darker and deadlier than Michael. Greg will kill anyone in his way.

I found this book well written with a very lifelike plot. The main and secondary characters were complex and realistic. This book had a very dark and dangerous feel all the way through. You are kept on your toes all the way through. The ending was somewhat predicable but the book was more about how the characters arrived at the ending then the ending itself. Overall, this was a fascinating and interesting book.
388 reviews7 followers
March 1, 2017
GOOD LUCK PUTTING IT DOWN

I love any book that can really engage me and this book delivers! I finished this book in one sitting (Well, sometimes I was cooking or doing laundry while reading. You know how we bookworms are ;).

First, I will tell you that I just do an over-all analysis of the experience I had reading a book to help others choose. So, no spoilers. The plot was admirably well-crafted. The storyline pulled me in right away. Each chapter added to my curiosity and kept me flipping pages.

The characters are multi-faceted and the layers are added in nicely. Some tugged at my heartstrings, some are frightening in their realistic diabolic nature lying beneath the surface mask. The plot is tight and paced quite well. As I wrote earlier, it's a page-turner.

It has great elements that explore the human condition. There are a few misspellings and some typos, if one wants to nitpick. I don't, because I enjoyed the book tremendously. I recommend it to those who like thrillers or are looking for a compelling read. So, 5 stars from me. :)
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