Mysterious Press, Hardcover, 9780802120991, 279pp.
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Dinah Whitcomb seemingly has everything. A loving and successful husband, and a smart, precocious young son named Robbie. One day, their worlds are shattered when Dinah is attacked and Robbie is taken in a mall parking lot. Dinah, injured, attempts to follow, but is run over by the kidnapper's van, mangling her body nearly beyond repair.
The kidnapper, a part-time Preacher named Chester Cash, calls himself Daddy Love, as he has abducted, tortured, and raped several young boys into being his lover and as well as his 'son'. He confines Robbie in a device called an Wooden Maiden, in essence a small coffin, and renamed him 'Gideon'. Daddy Love slowly brainwashes 'Gideon' into believing that he is Daddy Love's real son, and any time the boy resists or rebels it is met with punishment beyond his wildest nightmares.
As Dinah recovers from her wounds, her world and her marriage struggle to exist every day. Though it seems hopeless, she keeps a flicker of hope alive that her son is still alive.
As Robbie grows older, he becomes more aware of just how monstrous Daddy Love truly is. Though as a small boy he as terrified of what might happen if he disobeyed Daddy Love, Robbie begins to realize that the longer he stays in the home of this demon, the greater chance he'll end up like Daddy Love's other 'sons' who were never heard from again. Somewhere within this tortured young boy lies a spark of rebellion...and soon he sees just what lengths he must go to in order to have any chance at survival.
"After all these years, Joyce Carol Oates can still give me the creeps. Oates has more knives to throw before bringing this harrowing tale to a close but she saves the sharpest one for the very last page." --Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
"Wrenching, tightly written and focused...a grim examination of how humans cope with unspeakable physical and psychological pain. She illuminates the darkest corners and shows us the startled, troubled creatures hiding there, nursing their wounds, staring back at us, their kin." --Cleveland Plain-Dealer
"I haven't met a Joyce Carol Oates story or novel that I didn't like and Daddy Love is no exception." Huntington News
"Haunting, terrifying, disturbing.” Atlantic Wire
Joyce Carol Oates, author of dozens of grim novels, knows the dark side of life better than most and explores it here in a lean and disturbing tale that reverberates after its ending.” --Columbus Dispatch
Oates makes us squirm as she forces us to see some of the action through Love’s twisted and warped perspective.” --Kirkus Reviews
This unsettling tale showcases Oates’s masterful storytelling.” --Publishers Weekly
An urgently compelling and drastically revealing study of evil, habitual terror, and survival.” --Booklist
"Daddy Love is a book not to be taken lightly...(it) pushes us to confront what lurks behind the front door." --New York Journal of Books
"Joyce Carol Oates’s latest book is a horror. As in horror story, frightening, alarmingly realistic. The monsters in Daddy Love are people, not fantastical creatures from the deep or outer space. They are human." --PopMatters