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Cruelty's Daughter

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When a young girl is abducted by a notorious serial killer, a woman risks her own life trying to save her.

Mina is struggling to come to terms with her past. Having led a reclusive life, shunning human contact, she decides to take on a local college course to help get her life back on track.

However, when a young girl who tries to befriend her is abducted by a serial killer, Mina feels responsible. She refused to wait with the girl for her mother to pick her up. And she shrugged off the youngster’s fears.

Now Mina cannot rest until she finds out what happened. But as she probes into the events of that evening, her own nightmares start to return. She has put herself in danger, one that leads to an increasingly tense standoff with a cruel and vicious man who will stop at nothing.

Can she find the strength to stand up to her demons, past and present? And will she do so, even if it means risking everything?

246 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 12, 2018

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Anna Willett

21 books863 followers

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5 stars
299 (54%)
4 stars
161 (29%)
3 stars
69 (12%)
2 stars
15 (2%)
1 star
5 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 29 of 29 reviews
Profile Image for Kim.
2,037 reviews
May 31, 2021
Setting: Perth, Western Australia. In Perth, following the death of her mother, Mina has decided that she must try to reconnect with people, having isolated herself for several months. She signs up for a creative writing evening class at the local college where, during a break, she meets photography lecturer Lee. She also meets fellow student Andrea who asks her to wait with her after class until her mother arrives to collect her, nervous about waiting on her own as several girls have been taken by a kidnapper dubbed The Magician. But Mina refuses to do so, concerned about getting involved with anyone, only to find that Andrea disappeared from the college car park that night. Wracked with guilt over this (which also brings back memories of the death of her violent and abusive father), Mina then receives notes from the kidnapper - so sets out to find him in order to free Andrea.....
This is a great serial killer mystery but, as I've often found with this author's work, she also puts an unexpected surprise twist in the tale which makes it even more gripping. An excellent read - 9/10.
Profile Image for Vivian.
794 reviews10 followers
August 11, 2019
This had me at the edge of my seat. Willett did a great job with this thriller!

~ Mina kept to herself. She’d rather that than getting too close to people. After what she’s done, she can’t afford to. Growing up with an abiding father, she felt forced to do the unthinkable. Now, after refusing to help a classmate wait for her ride one evening, her classmate Andrea, was kidnapped. Taken by the notorious “Magician” who’s yet to be caught. Her guilt is now compounded. So much so that she leaves the only home she’s ever known and moves to the country. Mina hopes that by making a new life, she can start fresh and put her nightmares behind her. Will her nightmares follow her?
82 reviews
June 1, 2018
Excellent read

I really enjoyed this book. I cared very much about Andrea Fields. I finished the book in no time, I guess because I wanted to make sure she was all right. This is one of my favorite books now. I can't wait to read it again in a year or two.
Profile Image for Sharon.
970 reviews188 followers
December 3, 2022
Cruelty’s Daughter is a gripping psychological thriller that had me turning turning the pages wanting to know what would happen next. With twists and turns I didn’t see coming this book is well worth reading. Recommended.
June 3, 2018
Over the top

I read a lot this is my kind of book. This guy is such a crazy I read a fun book in the middle to bring happy thoughts back! Worth the read!
Profile Image for Diane Dickson.
Author 35 books85 followers
June 27, 2018
Totally gripped from the very start with this book. Right from the first chapter the tension starts to build. You know there are things going on that are dark and desperate. There are enough twists and turns and red herrings to satisfy any reader I think. It is gruesome and gory in parts and desperate. I know it's a cliche but I quite literally could not put it down, the drama ratchets up and up towards the end and it isn't clear just how the poor flawed heroine can ever find a way out - does she? well read the book and find out.
699 reviews7 followers
December 11, 2021
A little slow, difficult to catch my interest

There were parts of the book that I found extremely interesting and entertaining, but I also found it difficult to fully engage.
Profile Image for Jackie McMillan.
291 reviews12 followers
September 13, 2022
(2.5 stars)
"Keeping people at arm's length was instinctual. A legacy left over from years of living with the enemy." This is another crime novel that centres around domestic and family violence. Cruelty's Daughter focuses on the impacts of violence on a child exposed to both child abuse and domestic and family violence directed at her mother. You can see how it damages the lead protagonist, Mina's, self-conception and her relationships with others: "Men's faces were always the same: excited, eager, calculating." Extending these impacts into her having a special connection to a serial killer, where like recognises like, is a bit repugnant to kids who (through no fault of their own) experience violence. The author's connecting line being that both the serial killer, and Mina's father, view women as "bags of skin to be beaten and terrorised".

But I read on, only to find the author extends this likeness to depict Mina as becoming what she has always been scared she might be: cruelty's daughter. I personally can't see many women deciding to take a serial killer prisoner instead of calling the police because they someh0w think they'll be better at extracting information from him. It just isn't how women think: "Doing this thing — taking another human being captive — was easier if she could ignore his humanity."

Perhaps all the glowing reviews enjoyed Cruelty's Daughter as a revenge fantasy: "You're so used to snatching up women and doing God knows what to them, it never occurred to you that one day, you'd pick the wrong one." I reckon you could write one without making becoming a serial killer a consequence of being beaten by your father and using fatal violent resistance to get away. We have enough stereotypes about domestic and family violence to contend without adding new ones.
Profile Image for Bandit.
4,461 reviews446 followers
December 21, 2022
Once upon a time I read and rather liked Willett’s Backwoods Ripper. Since then, I managed to read a slew of her other books and found them uniformly mediocre at best. Yes, they are quick mindless reads and often come up as kindle freebies and the Australian location is nice, but there’s only so much mindless one can want and Willett tends to underutilize the location, such as with this book, so that it comes across generic, like it might be set anywhere.
This one might be the book that finally convinces me to stop reading Willett altogether. This one is somewhat below mediocre in quality.
Not to say it’s terrible. This book isn’t terrible, it’s perfectly readable. It just doesn’t have that much going for it. There is a plot featuring a cliched female protagonist with dark secrets who is given a chance at redemption by defeating a serial killer. But none of it is all that original or compelling. Then book is loaded with clichés and triteness, and the bulk of the novel comes from that trick some lesser-then thrillers utilize of going into minute detail at every turn.
Strong female protagonists (and thrillers they drive) are all the rage now, so Willett plies the market, but this is more of a low hanging fruit offer. Thoroughly forgettably bland.
Profile Image for Steve.
1,028 reviews
April 24, 2022
I am very conflicted by this book. While at first I was thinking very unkind thoughts about the main character, that tune still changed as past events were revealed. The plot twists came thick and fast,
keeping me guessing about the players and their motivations. I still feel the final reveal was really way too early, but the climax was still gripping and heart-stopping. I would have preferred more of a resolution, but I'm happy with what was written.
May 28, 2022
I just love Anna

Another book of hers I couldn't put down, I can't wait to read more from her. She hasn't disappointed me yet. I highly recommend this book if you like twists and unpredictability
461 reviews
August 14, 2022
Slow Beginning

It took me almost a third of this book before it finally got my interest. After that, it was an excellent read. Did I miss it, what happened to the villain??
Profile Image for Heather Martin.
1,458 reviews9 followers
July 25, 2018
**Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.**

This is the first time I’ve read anything by this author, so I went into Cruelty’s Daughter with no expectations. I can tell you that this book was a complete surprise and a journey. This book is told by three POV’s, the first and majority by the main character, Mina. Mina was a hard character for me to like. She was selfish and self-centered. If you read the blurb it’s easy to understand why she has these traits with her reclusive life. But, being inside of her mind was fairly boring. The second POV was Andrea, the kidnapped young girl and the third was the serial killer.

For me, the first 40% of this story was slow and boring. It didn’t help that I didn’t like Mina. The POV’s of the other characters were used sparingly and gave little bits of information but not enough to clue me in on the whole story. There comes a point in this story where Mina and the serial killer go head to head, and my actual,real-life reaction was WTF and that was my feelings throughout the remainder of the story. This story completely went off the rails of any expectations I may have developed up to that point. Seriously off the rails.

Though Mina comes across as weak, she has quite the history that shows appearances are quite deceiving. And everything that takes place with the serial killer is just a reminder that it’s the quiet ones you need to look out for. Honestly, the second half of this book had me by its grip and I could not finish it quick enough. And once I finished I couldn’t believe what I just read! This is a dark, twisty story that will keep you surprised and guessing throughout. And if you’re not taken by surprise by the crazy actions of Mina in this story, that tells me everything I need to know about you...and we should be friends, lol. ;-)

Honestly, if you like the unexpected, dark and twisty reads you should definitely read this! And, if it matters to you, there’s even a little romance included in this book. And I guess a HEA is implied but knowing what I do about Mina, I have suspicions.

Rating: 4 Stars
Profile Image for Naturalbri (Bri Wignall).
792 reviews87 followers
July 20, 2018
This was an excellent read! I felt the tension and was kept on the edge of my seat, for the entire duration! I found myself completely gripped by the story and often caught myself reading ‘just one more chapter’ so that I could find out what was going to happen next.

The pace of the story was perfect, for the genre and writing style. It definitely helped to build up the tension and really make the whole of the book exciting. The author also brilliantly used certain moments to slow the pace, allowing me to stop, wonder and worry about where it was headed, as well as give us much needed details, to keep the story realistic and relatable.

The characters were really exciting, and were given plenty of detail, to really bring them to life. I liked this, as it really connected me to the main character and to her background, as well as connecting me to the girl she was searching for, throughout the read.

Overall, this was a brilliant book and I am very much looking forward to reading more from this author.
Profile Image for Viola Calvary.
Author 9 books23 followers
September 26, 2018
I hope Mina sticks around because she was a fascinating character. Getting into her head was easily the best part of the book.
Twists and turns, overall the plot is well done with a slow build that explodes in the last quarter of the book. It's a lovely combination of mystery and suspense. But really I can't say enough about Mina (without giving it away) except that I would like to see more. That darkness the author creates feels like it's only just started to bloom.
The serial killer is unexpected, twisted, and his interactions with Mina start to pull out an intriguing side of her.
If you're into suspense and the darker side of tortured minds then I recommend checking out Cruelty's Daughter.
1,445 reviews11 followers
May 8, 2019

An edge of your seat lesson in a humans ability to fight for survival. In the face of adversity the human mind and spirit can find it within themselves survive. Sometimes wrongs are committed for the right reasons, whether it be surviving an abusive situation, saving a loved one from needless suffering, finding strength to escape a predicament even if it hurts, or saving someone else from certain death. Great read. Great lesson.
Profile Image for Linda.
665 reviews1 follower
July 31, 2018
Fantastic read....

This is an amazing story.. A story of survival, a story of hope but also a story of heartache and what happens when horror strikes out and you become face to face with evil. I was riveted to the story.. The words compelling and heartbreaking.. A great thriller with suspense that has you guessing but fearing what you might find.
171 reviews
August 5, 2018
Amazing book

This should Definately be a movie.
Characters so vivid i felt i knew them intimately.
The story so shocking and real i couldn't put the book down. The ending with twist and turns i did not see coming. The end so haunting, real and final i won't be walking away and putting this book behind me. I will instead be locking my doors and hugging my children more often.
455 reviews2 followers
December 10, 2018
Have your ever started a book and wondered if you really want to read it? I did with this one but believe me I'm so glad I continued to read it and loved it all the way to the end. Fascinating book and the story keeps you so interested you'll not want to put it down. Please give it a try and remember not to judge it till you're finished. It's one of the best books I've ever read.
119 reviews1 follower
January 12, 2019
Five stars +

Crazy suspenseful story ! This story has everything. Excellent characters, drama, suspense.... You really care about the characters, and wonder what will happen. You keep reading to find out. Warning some parts are very creepy and disturbing. It's an excellent story and it takes you on an suspenseful journey......
Will be reading more from this author. 👍
17 reviews
March 9, 2023
Wow, Cruelty's Daughter is such an exciting, amazing book! It had me on the edge of my seat from start to finish, I couldn't read it fast enough. Mina is such a strong, lead female character, I would love to read more about her. Expect the unexpected with so many twists and turns, I would love to see this turned into a movie. I highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Erik Empson.
382 reviews12 followers
May 21, 2018
Perhaps the best yet from Australian author, Anna Willett. A cruel man doesn't quite know what he's letting himself in for when he targets a woman - one who has been there before. A suspenseful story with some real nailbiting moments. Gripping from start to finish.
Profile Image for Nan Christine  Borton-Smith.
445 reviews5 followers
June 10, 2018
Edge of my seat

This novel is dark & so well written the imagery won’t leave your mind. Disturbing but completely riveting:I will continue to read this author ..but maybe not late at night.
Profile Image for Jo.
1,111 reviews60 followers
June 22, 2018
3.5 stars
I loved that this was set in Australia. I would take a break from reading, and then read a sentence about the kookaburra and realize - oh, right it's in Australia. There wasn't too much slang though which I like when I read a book set in another culture.
July 3, 2018

Oh my. This book some up every emotion. Kept you on the edge. Had you wanting to read more but also scared to. Horror at its best
Displaying 1 - 29 of 29 reviews

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