Breaking by Amanda Cassidy – Book Review

Title: Breaking

Author: Amanda Cassidy

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Canelo

Publication Date: 6th October 2022

Rating: 5/5



It’s every mother’s worst fear

On a sun-hazed afternoon in the Florida Keys, a child goes missing from the beach. Dr Mirren Fitzpatrick appeals to the world to help find her eight-year-old adopted daughter. The family are on holiday from Ireland, far from home and desperate to return there as they arrived – together. 

Yet the police are immediately suspicious of Mirren. She was drinking at a bar – alone – shortly before reporting that her youngest child had disappeared. As rumours abound about Mirren’s past a trial-by-media ensues, and she is turned from a figure of pity to the villain of the piece. 

And then a small body is found dumped in the ocean. Is Mirren a heartbroken mother, or the architect of her daughter’s fate? 

A stunning debut from a brilliant new voice in Irish crime fiction, perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn and Ashley Audrain. Breaking will see readers question their own notions of motherhood, guilt and the inescapable consequences of the past.


I very often find thrillers that shine a light on the complexities of motherhood deeply compelling and Breaking is no exception. It is an intense and probingly thorny look at what happens when a mother struggles to connect to one of her children and the consequences of that when a crisis hits. I loved it. The story follows a family on holiday in the Florida Keys. When the youngest daughter goes missing, her mother, Mirren, finds herself stuck in a trial-by-media as her competence as a mother is called into question.

Breaking is a taut and extremely well written thriller which isn’t afraid to take risks and delve into some dark and complicated issues. Mirren is a fascinating and multifaceted character that is by no means always likeable. Yet she is still relatable in a sense and she is undeniably intriguing. We also follow one of the detectives on the case, who provides a slightly more morally straightforward point of view. The story develops at a propulsive speed with some genuinely surprising twists, but it still takes the time to put the characters and their motivations under sharply incisive scrutiny. Breaking’s ending is also every bit as gripping as its explosive beginning which is no mean feat. Disturbing, moving and unflinchingly intense – Breaking is definitely one of favourite thrillers of the year.


I very kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.

Buy the book:

Waterstones | Blackwell’s | Amazon

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