The first and perhaps only mystery I’ve read before Due Date is Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon—which, if you haven’t read it yet, should be the very next book on your reading list. In fact, I’ll wait until you’re done.
(Plays with nails while whistling the Sherlock Holmes theme song)
Finished? Great. Now you’ll have a better idea what I mean when I tell you that Due Date is nothing like it. And I don’t mean that in a bad way.
Where Hammett’s Sam Spade was as hard-boiled and impersonal as they come, author Nancy Wood paints Shelby McDougall as a real, warm, feeling young woman caught in the same financial pit that many college graduates are. When an opportunity comes along to not only help a couple who can’t conceive, but to unburden some of her college loans, she naturally jumps on it.
Such a decision is not without consequence, however—at least not in any decent book I can imagine. Shelby’s family doesn’t agree with having kids for someone else in exchange for money, putting them at such odds that she has no choice but to move in with the future parents.
That, of course, is when things go mind-blowingly awry.
Nancy Wood does a marvelous job of weaving a perplexing mystery in with deep, personal dilemmas, family conflict, social values, and a cast of interesting and diverse characters who will keep you guessing until the adrenaline-filled conclusion.