Publication date: September 19th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Enter the world of this YA thriller, where nothing is ever quite as it seems…
It’s been five years since the high profile kidnapping case which turned Cassie Waterson’s life upside down. The aftermath led her to become a household name – for months, she was splashed across TV screens, appeared in newspaper headlines, and featured in the furtive whispers of the residents of her hometown. But why? She hadn’t done anything significant. In fact, she’d done nothing at all; merely watched, motionless, as a shadowy figure lifted her baby sister off her feet, and bundled her into the back of a station wagon.
That single moment soon became Cassie Waterson’s life. Agonised by guilt, confused by the lack of punishment, scrutinised by the media circus… everyone claims to know Cassie now, but nobody does at all. The face she puts on for cameras, the voice she fakes for the talk shows… none of that is the reality behind the mask. Cassie is not the strong, confident girl who glares with certainty from the screen. Cassie doesn’t have her assuredness, or her optimism about her sister coming home. Cassie is someone else entirely, and the only person who knows is the one person she must avoid… at all costs.
Every story has two sides, and the flipside of Cassie Waterson is Alexis Aldridge. Unknown, anonymous, kept hidden from the world by her fearful parents… Alexis is a conundrum, wrapped in darkness. While her and Cassie lead opposite lives, they both long for the one thing they miss: a sense of normalcy, and the freedom to be themselves.
Infamous is an unmissable YA mystery novel which will take you on twist after turn, and which provides suspense and surprises on every page.
“Five years ago today, three-year-old Sophie Waterson was taken from her front yard in Toronto’s Bridle Path. Her sister, Cassie, witnessed the incident. Since then, the family has called for help from the community to find their missing child. Sophie’s father, CEO and Founder of software giant Watermark, has also employed investigators to look into his daughter’s disappearance. In spite of their efforts, Sophie was never found. I’m here today with Cassie Waterson. Cassie, can you recall the events leading up to your sister’s kidnapping?”
“Yes, Joan,” Cassie replied. She was on set at a local television news station, sitting in the same leather swivel chair that she’d inhabited about a dozen times before. She was back every year, reliving that same day over and over to the point where it felt more like a fable than a real life event. “I was playing with my sister out front. She ran over to her playhouse… I turned my back for a second and the next thing I heard was Sophie screaming for me.”
The TV presenter nodded. She had that same look that the hosts always have when Cassie agreed to these shows; it was made-for-television exaggerated sympathy.
“Right away, I knew something was wrong. Like, very wrong. I turned back and saw a woman running away. She had Sophie. I tried to run after them but I wasn’t fast enough.”
“Where were your parents?” the presenter asked.
“Inside. My mom was cooking dinner for us and my dad was wallpapering our room.”
She lied for them. She had to. What were they actually doing? Cassie didn’t know, but she could be sure it wasn’t child-friendly. Back then her father had three children: Cassie, Sophie and Watermark, his business. It was pretty obvious which one was his favourite. Her mother may not have worked, but Cassie saw her even less. She had a world of her own, filled with parties and societies and committees. There wasn’t much room left for child rearing.
“What happened next?”
“There was a car waiting for the woman to get in. When she did, it drove away. That’s when my parents came out. My dad went looking for them right away. He hasn’t really stopped since.”
Another lie. Cassie had begged Ray for detectives (like Nancy Drew) who could solve crimes that police couldn’t. But her father was hurting. Bad. He refused to hear updates on the case, he avoided the news, and worst of all, he couldn’t say Sophie’s name aloud. She didn’t understand then. She didn’t get why he would just repeat the word ‘okay,’ talking over her while she explained her plan. She thought he didn’t care. Now she knew he just cared too much.
That’s why he gave her Phil, to help Cassie where he wasn’t capable of it. Technically Phil was Cassie’s publicity manager, though that title didn’t begin to cover the breadth of his role. As one of his first tasks, Phil set up the private investigation for Sophie under Ray’s name. It worked out perfectly. Her father approved the monthly bills for the detective team, signed his name next to Phil’s coloured markers, and that was the extent of his contribution.
“If you don’t mind me asking, how did it feel to actually see your sister being taken?”
And there it was: the reason that they always asked her back. It was the reason that everyone watched, wasn’t it? The world was fascinated by that beautiful missing toddler and her traumatised older sister.
Allison Stowe is the author of the YA novel, ‘Infamous.’ Raised in a generic Toronto suburb, Allison spent her childhood posting fan fiction online in hopes of influencing The WB’s writing rooms. She wrote her first novel at age 13. It was based on her favorite TV show, and upon submission she learned of copyright law.
In 2010, she graduated with a BA (Hons) in Journalism from Ryerson University, where she was the Managing Editor of the online newspaper. During her brief journalistic career, Allison wrote for Chatelaine magazine and TV Guide Canada (essentially achieving a life dream). Shortly after graduation, she relocated to Brighton, UK, and refocused her attention on her second passion – helping young people.
While studying for her MSc in Educational Psychology at UCL, Allison wrote Infamous as a way to fulfil her instinct to keep writing. When she isn’t writing about the lives of young adults, or watching prime time teen dramas, Allison mentors university students who’ve been diagnosed with mental health issues. She lives in London, UK, with her fluffy ginger cat, Sawyer. ‘Infamous’ is her debut novel.