Sophie Hannah, plotter extraordinaire, brings a stand-alone that will have readers empathize with protagonist Beth Leeson as she tries to figure out what’s happened to her best friend, Flora Braid, in Perfect Little Children.

The former friends haven’t been in touch in twelve long years, since the Flora and her family moved away. Their friendship has started to flag at that time, right after the Braids had a third child. Then when Beth’s son’s football game takes her to the same town where the Braids now live, Flora can’t resist driving past their new home.

What she sees as she watches the large house behind gates shocks her: Flora’s son and daughter, surely teenagers by now, appear to be the same age they were when the Braids moved away five and three. But they should be seventeen and fifteen.

What starts as an oddity becomes an obsession for Beth. Her husband at first doesn’t believe her, and then isn’t quick to support her as Beth feels compelled to pursue the situation. She involves her own teenage daughter to help her figure out the mystery of these children who don’t age.

Convinced Flora and her children have to be in danger, Beth will put herself and her own family in danger to help Flora, who used to be her best friend.

The plot of this one is a real humdinger readers won’t be able to put down as Beth tries to make sense of all the ways this creepiness could possibly make sense.