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Publisher's Summary

The sensational new psychological thriller from the internationally best-selling author of The Girl Before.

Pete Riley is a stay-at-home dad; his partner, Maddie, works in advertising. After Pete drops two-year-old Theo off at nursery one morning, he's politely accosted by a man who looks just like Theo. 

The man, Miles Lambert, breaks the devastating news that Theo is in fact not Pete's son, but his - the two babies got mixed up at hospital and Miles and his wife, Lucy, now have the Rileys' son at home. They've already carried out DNA testing to prove it.

The two couples agree that, rather than swap the children back, they'll try to involve each other in the children's lives. But a plan to sue the hospital triggers an official investigation that unearths some disturbing questions about just how the babies got mixed up. 

And when Theo is thrown out of nursery for hitting other children, Pete and Maddie have to ask themselves: how far do they want this arrangement to go? What are the secrets hidden behind the Lamberts' smart front door? And how much can they trust the real parents of their child - or even each other?

An addictive psychological thriller, perfect for fans of The Silent Patient and Shari Lapena's The Couple Next Door.

©2020 Shippen Productions Ltd (P)2020 Penguin Random House Audio

What listeners say about Playing Nice

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Podenco Fan
  • 02-08-20

Perhaps more riveting if you are a parent

I am a 50% JP Delaney Fan ... LOVED "The Girl Before" could not get into "Believe me" ADORED "The Perfect Wife" and it is still sharp in my mind like I read it yesterday but I could not get into "Playing Nice". I am so hoping this hit and miss format is continuing for me and I will go wild about the next JP Delaney as it is almost like there are two authors at work here taking it in turns to right the books! "The Girl Before" was fabulous ... and "The Perfect Wife" was even better ... and now this.

Don't get me wrong, the switched baby scenario is huge food for thought for anyone - but not being a parent I think it just did not resonate as much with me and although I did get the many complex emotions this would create, it did not hold my attention, so I gave up and just skipped ahead and yes as usual JP Delaney served up twist after stunning twist.

Perhaps because I basically got bored and gave up and skipped ahead, I missed out nuances but to me it seemed a little broadly painted - a pantomime baddy - a saintly goody - a terrible situation to be resolved and then it all escalated.

From another author this would be a brilliant book and for those who enjoy kitchen sink dramas, emotions being tugged by toddlers and kind of soap series melodrama it would be a treat. But I just expected far more from JP Delaney and had hoped this would be another "Girl Before/Perfect Wife" though it was less far fetched than "Believe Me".

Also I find reading about mental health issues unsavoury as I am just looking for a thriller to capture my imagination and take me on a thrilling ride of suspense and mystery and bringing in the potential red herring of are they/aren't they insane just muddies the waters for me.

So to sum up, very well written book, good narration but just themes not really up my street and not the smash hit follow up to "The Girl Before/The Perfect Wife" I had so joyfully anticipated. Maybe the next book will blow my socks off - I hope so!

32 people found this helpful

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  • Fee
  • 24-12-20

Oh dear!

Such hard work, I did persevere but I really wish I would stop completing books just because I’ve started. This is a recurring refrain from me and my 2021 resolution is based on the fact we all have different views, different opinions (and that’s wonderful and interesting) I’m not a rude person if I dislike a book someone else loves, so don’t finish it! We’ll see. Anyway, unlikeable characters, even the child! And I need someone I can feel empathy for ( here, only David), I just didn’t enjoy it.

15 people found this helpful

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  • christine
  • 07-09-20

At times quite Frustrating

Some aspects of this story were frustrating. Theo was meant to be 2 and a half and yet his language was so much more advanced. I found that unbelievable. I didn’t think it was necessary for The Australian lady who narrated Maddie’s part to try and use an English accent when referencing the british characters. That grated on me a bit.
Overall the idea was good and the story had a satisfactory conclusion.

14 people found this helpful

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  • Natasha
  • 14-02-21

Disappointed

I felt uncomfortable at how the character of the disabled child was treated in the book, very much subordinate to the other child. It was clear the author didn’t feel he had the same worth to either set of parents. Shocked at the use of the word “retarded”.

11 people found this helpful

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  • minniepow
  • 17-10-20

First class story telling.

I absolutely loved this. A psychological thriller with a very satisfactory ending..I listened on audible and couldn't wait for the next dog walk.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Marion G.
  • 09-10-20

Hooks you in

Finished this in no time at all and not disappointed at the end either. A story that is plausible in our overstretched NHS and a sobering dilemma. How would you react if suddenly confronted by a couple who have the evidence that will take away your child. The villain of the piece is outwardly concerned and reasonable but beware …. and that is all I can reveal without spoiling your enjoyment. ~~~~Enjoy

7 people found this helpful

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  • cflash
  • 30-09-20

In one word - tedious

I loved JP Delaney’s ‘the girl before’ but this was although full of promise and a great idea was boring.
I found myself jumping to the last 5 chapters having listened to half just to find out the end.
Wouldn’t recommend this one - very disappointing from a great author.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Ann D
  • 29-08-20

Compelling!

This is a really good listen/read. It’s very well written and the narration is excellent. There are a couple of minor procedural inaccuracies, but they are not of any great consequence. Recommend!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Graeme Robison
  • 27-02-21

Just go to the police!!!

A quite good start but so many reasons to call police and nkne were taken? Silly story

3 people found this helpful

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  • Dawn evans
  • 02-08-20

Fantastic

So current and accurate read in two days good realistic research I really enjoyed this book and would welcome more from the author
Excellent

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-04-21

Great story

This is a great story and well narrated. I liked the short chapters. The subject matter was different and kept me interested right to the end

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  • Ruby Siemsen
  • 20-01-21

Wow, good stuff!

I love JP Delaney... the stories are always so unique and I learn something new every time I read them (or listen!)

I liked the whole “playing nice” preface and how it tied together. Awesome job as always!

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  • Michelle
  • 25-12-20

Not as good

I've really enjoyed other books by this author but this one couldn't hold my interest and after 2 hours of listening I'm giving up. I also can't tolerate the male narrator's impersonation of an Australian accent - it's appalling and all over the place.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-10-20

Good, but as not as good

It was a good listen, but not one of the better novels this author has put out. Oh, and the Australian accent of ‘Pete’ is rather New Zealand to my ear 😉

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-10-20

Gripping psychological thriller

Believable and chilling story about two babies being swapped at birth. Plenty of twists and turns kept me guessing, ending was both satisfying and surprising.

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  • Rose Hirst
  • 28-09-20

Best book I’ve read this year

Couldn’t stop listening to this audio book , it never got boring and had me hooked the whole time

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-08-20

Believable Until the End

Having witnessed how easily the family court system be used by a wealthy convert narcissist, this book resonated too close to the bone. This institution can, and often is, used as a weapon of abuse by such perpetrators. The book only became less believable toward the end which was a shame. Still it was a page turner, very entertaining.

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  • Kim Solomon
  • 25-08-20

captivating


a great read, kept me interested and wanting to keep listening. highly recommend this book.