Review by Tracy Sharp

Seven years after the abduction of their daughter, Ruby, Claire Doucett and Dave Creasy are understandably still affected by the fall-out of their grief. Unable to move forward from the loss of their daughter and their own failed marriage, Claire is going through a second divorce and Dave is licking his wounds from his failed career as a police officer.

When Claire spots a doll which is the exact replica of Ruby in a shop window, she is certain the doll has something to do with the disappearance of her long missing daughter. Darting across the road to get a closer look at the doll, Claire is hit by a car and lands up in the hospital. When she goes back to see the doll the next day, not only has it vanished from the shop, but so has the shop owner. Claire faces the doubts and disbelief of her family when she tells them about the doll looking exactly like Ruby. After all, she’d seen Ruby around every corner for seven years. Why should the doll be any different?

With nowhere else to turn, Claire turns to Dave, now a freelance private investigator. She is certain that the doll will lead them to clues about what happened to Ruby. At first Dave refuses, but eventually he finally agrees. His search forces him to face his own demons and bad decisions, and makes him a target for those who want buried secrets to remain hidden. As Claire and Dave work together, each clue leads them deeper into a labyrinth of police corruption, murder, and the twisted game of one of the nastiest psychopaths recently brought to life on the page.

Amanda Stephens has written a dark and chilling novel, which kept this reader turning the pages. She leads us through New Orleans and surrounding areas with rich and gorgeous sensory descriptions, making us feel as if we are in the story. A combination of masterful plotting and wonderful, realistic characterization, “The Dollmaker” fills the reader with dread for Claire and Dave. Tension builds steadily to a nail-biting finale, leaving the reader breathless and giddy.

Thriller fans will love this eerie, hair-raising story. This reader looks forward to Stephen’s next novel, coming in March 2008, “The Devil’s Footprints”.


Tracy Sharp is the author of Repo Chick Blues. She recently joined our editor staff and you can learn more about Tracy by visiting her website Her new book Finding Chloe is now available.

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