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Rae Cairns Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Good Mother (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Rae Cairns
Rae Cairns is a former youth worker that has turned to a life of crime…writing. She is fascinated with how ordinary people manage when they are faced with extraordinary circumstances, so she pens crime stories with heart. Thriller and suspense books which explore the lengths that everyday characters are able to go to when all that they love gets put at risk.

“The Good Mother” draws on her background working as a youth worker mentoring disadvantaged youth, many of whom the children of paramilitiaries, in Northern Ireland during the last years of the ‘Troubles’.

She has co-managed a crisis refuge for street children, worked as Program Director for the Sydney Olympic Youth Camp. She also holds a degree in Performing Arts and has worked stints as a dancer, an actor, and a singer in her travels around the world.

When she is not playing around with the lives of her imaginary characters she loves reading, traveling, hiking, going to the beach, singing, and laughing with the family. But you’ll never find her gardening (something that makes the plants very happy) or ironing (just not enough patience for that).

Rae also loves attempting to understand why people do what they do. This has been the focus of her different careers that she has delved into, from singing and acting to her youth work.

The riot scene in “The Good Mother” was the toughest scene she had to write. In 1997, she was working as an aid worker in Northern Ireland and got caught up in one especially horrifying riot. Going back and revisiting this event in her mind, tapping into the sensory and emotional memories, was much more confronting than she ever expected. Sarah’s heart rate still picks up at the sound of a helicopter flying overhead.

Rae plays the ‘What If’ game frequently. If she is driving, watching her kids play sports, or walking the dog you can bet she’s daydreaming and asking ‘What if’. One such ‘What If’ lurked for fifteen years. During the final years of Northern Ireland’s ‘Troubles’, she worked in Belfast mentoring disadvantaged youth. While she was there, she briefly fell in love, in that all consuming and passionate, change my life for you, young love.

The guy wooed her with letters, sweet nothings in her ear, and dancing. She was hooked. People around her started letting things slip about how he wasn’t who she believed he was and be careful of his charming ways.

It unsettled her and she started digging deeper. She uncovered the guy’s close ties to this paramilitary organization and she confronted him and learned that much of what he had been telling her about himself wasn’t true. She broke things off immediately. She knew she had dodged a bullet, despite being heartbroken for a short time.

Upon her return to Australia Rae found she was questioning herself about what would’ve happened if she hadn’t learned any of this until a lot later about his paramilitary ties? They had been dating for a couple of months by then and he was angling for them to live together.

She was stunned that not one colleague or local friend had given her a clear heads up, even knowing the goal of her work. Was he with her because of the work she had been doing, to undermine the power of the paramilitaries? Or did he believe so strongly in the cause that he believed she would come around?

When she began a creative writing course, it was this fifteen year old ‘What If’ that kept demanding to be explored; what if this relationship with her NI boyfriend went on much longer, and he exposed her to the underworld of Belfast even more than she realized? What would also happen, she wondered, if their paths ended up crossing in the present tense?

So she started writing it, and the story evolved from there. She found new characters, and even more primal motivations and threats. It turned into a very different manuscript than the one she started on. She used some of her experiences from her time there, but the novel and Sarah’s tale is a total work of fiction.

“The Good Mother” was shortlisted for Best Debut Crime Fiction in the 2021 Ned Kelly Awards.

“The Good Mother” is the first stand alone novel and was released in the year 2020. She is protected them from the truth, but can she save them from her past?

Sarah Calhoun, an Australian soccer mom, keeps the horrifying secrets from her time as an overseas aid worker from everybody that she loves. Until these two men from Northern Ireland track her down. One is an obsessive cop with demons of his own, the other is a savage IRA executioner that is too closely linked to her past.

Sarah is forced to return to Belfast to testify at a murder trial. However she faces one impossible decision: tell the truth and place her kids in the line of fire or lie on the stand and let a vindictive murderer go free.

With the lives of her family and thousands of innocent folks at risk, Sarah’s got to battle her fears, overcome some betrayal, and find the courage to fight for the truth. However righting the wrongs from the past only may cost her everything.

This is a thrilling read that’s going to have you burning the midnight oil. It is a compelling and first hand insight into Northern Ireland through the eyes of the strongest of people: a mom that will do whatever she must to keep her kids safe. This is a brilliant story and one of the most compelling, original, and thrilling books that some have read in a number of years.

This is an incredible debut novel that hooks you in from the first page and holds your attention throughout. Each of these characters come to life and find a place within your heart. It is a must read told with grit, compassion, and raw honesty. You will be turning the pages faster and faster while the book races on toward its explosive climax.

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