THE PRODIGAL by H.C. MAREE #Book review #Thriller #Suspense @HCMaree

The Prodigal: The story of ultimate Betrayal by [Maree, HC]


Frank and Lizzie Cudgill are the perfect couple – influential, respected, wealthy beyond their means, but childless after seven years of marriage. When they adopt Daniel their happiness is complete – until they notice him exhibiting strange and disturbing character traits.

Parents will go to great lengths to raise their children well. Daniel succumbs to their nurturing and he emerges from his difficult years stronger, more disciplined, successful and brilliant.

Daniel returns to the family farm from university and a successful career years later. He’s made it just in time to witness his beloved mother sigh her last breath. But then Frank’s death follows within months and Daniel is noticeable by his absence at the funeral.

Frank’s friend, Dr Mark Foster, is uneasy. The facts concerning Frank’s death don’t add up. When his investigation starts, someone is watching, threatening him, biding time. Can Mark resolve the questions surrounding Frank’s death? And if he can, at what cost to himself and the woman he loves?



I was captivated with this beautifully written book which is set in South Africa. Although the story is centred around Daniel over a 30 year period, there is so very much more to this book.

Frank Cudgill was a very wealthy and influential farmer and factory owner, married to Lizzie they were the perfect couple. One thing money couldn’t buy was their own child, so after seven years of trying to conceive and failing, they adopted a son and named him Daniel. Now this really opens up the nature verse nurture line of thinking because Daniel was doted on, loved and provided with anything a boy could wish for.  Daniel though relished torturing small animals and eventually moved on to do much worse, with one thing his father couldn’t forgive and something that broke his mother’s heart. Things could never be the same for this family that fell apart. It takes a terrible event to make a father to ask his son to come home.

Absolutely loved how H. C. Maree tells the story of true friendship in her book. Dr. Mark Foster can not accept that his best friend Frank Cudgill had suddenly died and he was determined to get to the bottom of what had happened, even if the coroner has ruled that it was natural causes. Sometimes gut feelings  just won’t go away. Unfortunately life goes on with its own traumas, which divert a little from Mark’s investigation but loved these little stories in their own right too. Of course the day job was still a massive part of Mark’s life and so is this story.

I fell heavy for this beautiful country with its spectacular animals that had genetic coding that brought them through back gardens, into swimming pools and houses because this was their land before man claimed it. The Africa that would never be tamed.  These little stories were all wound around the characters lives, so cleverly done that it felt very natural. A super all round entertaining novel.



HC Maree

H.C. Maree has always written, since her first job in an advertising department to her last full-time position as a corporate editor. She debuted with her first novel, “The Prodigal”, a suspense-filled murder mystery, in 2016, to be followed by her upcoming novel next year.
After several years in the Middle East H.C. now lives with her husband in Mpumalanga, South Africa, bordering the famous Kruger National Park. The area is the backdrop for “The Prodigal”. Although she was born in the city of Pretoria, she has created a fictional version of a town in her stories. She thinks towns “lend themselves to intriguing characters where everyone wants to know everyone else’s business.”
She brings to life compelling relationships that embrace family and lasting friendships, inspiring her readers with universal truths, wisdoms and hope.
H.C. is a voracious reader and avid gardener and her own beautiful garden is her sanctuary. She loves communicating with her readers. You can join her at her blog,, where she shares her gardening tips, her books and her enthusiasm for both.


You can also contact her directly at to discuss her books.




The Prodigal: The story of ultimate Betrayal by [Maree, HC]

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