Can Anybody Help Me? by Sinead Crowley


Published May 2014

It was crazy really, she had never met the woman, had no idea of her real name but she thought of her as a friend. Or, at least, the closest thing she had to a friend in Dublin.
Struggling with a new baby, Yvonne turns to netmammy, an online forum for mothers, for support. Drawn into a world of new friends, she spends increasing amounts of time online and volunteers more and more information about herself. When one of her new friends goes offline, Yvonne thinks something is wrong, but dismissed her fears. After all, does she really know this woman? But when the body of a young woman with striking similarities to Yvonne’s missing friend is found, Yvonne suspects that they’re all in terrifying danger.
Can she persuade Sergeant Claire Boyle to taker her fears seriously?

About the Author

Sinéad Crowley is currently Arts and Media Correspondent with RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster. Working for radio, television and the web, she has covered stories ranging from general elections to the Eurovision Song Contest, and has reported from locations including Southern Africa, Azerbaijan and the Oscars. A self confessed internet addict, she discovered the world of parenting websites when on maternity leave with her first child. Sinéad lives in Dublin with her husband and two young sons.

My thoughts

Yvonne has a young baby and is struggling to cope. She is also new to Ireland and hasn’t made any friends. Like many other socially isolated mums, she reaches out to the internet. Yvonne finds a community of like-minded mums in ‘NetMammy’, an online parenting forum. Gradually Yvonne gets to know the others that post online and she reveals more and more of herself. Her husband is a workaholic and she needs these virtual friendships. When one of her online friends stops posting messages, she sees the reports in the newspaper of a dead woman and becomes alarmed. Sergeant Claire Boyle, a pregnant police officer is investigating the death of a single parent found in a flat in Dublin. She finds herself drawn to the ‘NetMammy’ website. Is someone targetting the ‘NetMammy’ forum members?

This is a book that anyone can relate to. It highlights the risks and dangers that we take when we use social media and internet forums. Although the ‘NetMammy’ forum focuses on pregnancy and child issues for mums, we all can understand how the internet has changed the way we form relationships and how easy it is to over share personal information with complete strangers.

The strength in the book came from the dialogue between the women chatting on the forum. If you have ever posted on a forum, you will be able to recognise the chatter.

This is not a hard hitting crime novel. It is more the kind of book you would pick up to read on holiday or to relax in the evening. It is an intriguing and sometimes disturbing mystery, that kept my attention throughout and nicely picked up pace as it went along. I was particularly fond of Yvonne and how the story followed her attempts to cope in a new environment. I really would be surprised, if anyone managed to guess what was really going on.

This is a very relevant contemporary crime mystery, from debut author Sinead Crowley. It will make you think twice about posting ANY personal details online.

A big thanks to Sinead Crowley for sending me a copy of her novel 





About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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2 Responses to Can Anybody Help Me? by Sinead Crowley

  1. It sounds a great read. I have Sinead on the blog doing first drafts in a couple of weeks.

  2. Kay says:

    This one looks good. Won’t be published here until the summer, but I’m putting it on my list. Sounds very timely.

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