By Julie Maloney
She Write Press| $16.95
April 10, 2018


Review by Sheila Sobel

When it comes to your children, everything has the potential to become your worst nightmare. Like most parents, Maddy Stewart kept those fears locked away until the day Vinni, her eight-year-old daughter, went missing. In her debut novel, A Matter of Chance, Julie Maloney deftly weaves loss, love, terror, and hope together in a story that will keep the reader turning pages.

     From the Jersey Shore to Manhattan to Germany, Maddy searches not only for her daughter but for herself. The adjustment from wife and mother to single mom was difficult. But now, as the mother of a missing child, Maddy’s world has capsized. She doesn’t know where her daughter is. She no longer knows who she is, or how she fits into this world. Her faith in humanity is shaken. Everyone Maddy ever trusted failed her, her mother, her ex-husband Steve, her childhood friend Kay. Added to the growing list is the kindly German couple, Hilda and Rudy, who, as chance would have it, lived down the beach from her summer rental. There was no reason for Maddy to suspect that Hilda and Rudy had ulterior motives when they showed interest in her daughter.   

     As the years pass without news of Vinni, Maddy’s new normal begins to take shape. She finds an ally in Detective John D’Orfini. She takes comfort in a return to her artistic roots through her mentor Evelyn. She rebuilds her once-broken friendship with Kay.

     Julie Maloney’s debut is an adult coming of age novel beautifully wrapped in a mystery. A Matter of Chance is a reminder of how fragile our existence is, how life can change instantly from a sunny day at the beach to the depths of despair. It is also the reminder that, like Maddy, we all have untapped inner strength and hope that can carry us through the mysteries of life.

Sheila Sobel’s debut novel Color Blind was the winner of the 2017 Killer Nashville Reader’s Choice Award for Best Tween/YA Fiction and Finalist for the 2017 Silver Falchion Award for Best YA Fiction. She was also nominated for the 2016 Allegra Johnson Prize in Novel Writing through the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. 
As a Senior Auditor for Warner Bros., Sheila oversaw production costs for films including “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” the “Matrix” trilogy, “The Dark Knight” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” After working on 70+ Independent and Studio movies, Sheila stepped away from the film business to complete her first YA novel. 
Sheila is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW), Sisters in Crime (SinC), Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), Children’s Book Writers-LA (CBW-LA) and Women in Film (WIF). She lives in Southern California with her husband, two rescue dogs and one rescue cat.