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Charlie Zailer

Lasting Damage #BookReview

Posted on 11th October 2012 in #bookreview

LASTING DAMAGE

by Sophie Hannah

The official blurb: Sophie’s sixth psychological crime novel to feature Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer.

It’s 1.15 a.m. Connie Bowskill should be asleep. Instead, she’s logging on to a property website in search of a particular house: 11 Bentley Grove, Cambridge. She knows it’s for sale; she saw the estate agent’s board in the front garden less than six hours ago.

Soon Connie is clicking on the ‘Virtual Tour’ button, keen to see the inside of 11 Bentley Grove and put her mind at rest once and for all. She finds herself looking at a scene from a nightmare: in the living room there’s a woman lying face down in a huge pool of blood. In shock, Connie wakes her husband Kit. But when Kit sits down at the computer to take a look, he sees no dead body, only a pristine beige carpet in a perfectly ordinary room…

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I didn’t give the last Sophie Hannah book that I read a great review, so I am all the happier to say that this one was actually really good!

The Zailer/Waterhouse relationship side of the book was still weak however and I can’t help thinking that Sophie Hannah started something several books ago that she was then compelled to continue with; I wonder if she regrets it?

Putting that to one side, the storyline was excellent and forgiving a few elements that slightly stretch plausibility (but then don’t all books?) it was a really good and well put together story.

As ever, Sophie Hannah’s observational skills when it comes to recording relationships is simply excellent she manages to capture that familiarity of the routines that families have which are disliked by so many of the family yet which continue year after year, just because. The unspoken words between Connie, her sister and her parents are all there loud and clear.

There was one little thread through the story of which the purpose eluded me but that’s not to say that it spoilt the book. Maybe I’m just not on the right wavelength for these novels some of the time.

Sorry if this sounds like a negative review, I think my experience of the previous book has possibly prevented me from reviewing this book on an impartial basis; it had something to prove from page one!

For me, this was Sophie Hannah back on form and I would recommend it.

A Room Swept White #BookReview

Posted on 25th September 2012 in #bookreview

 

A Room Swept White

by Sophie Hannah

TV producer Fliss Benson receives an anonymous card at work. The card has sixteen numbers on it, arranged in four rows of four – numbers that mean nothing to her.

On the same day, Fliss finds out she’s going to be working on a documentary about miscarriages of justice involving cot-death mothers wrongly accused of murder. The documentary will focus on three women: Helen Yardley, Sarah Jaggard and Rachel Hines. All three women are now free, and the doctor who did her best to send them to prison for life, child protection zealot Dr Judith Duffy, is under investigation for misconduct. 

For reasons she has shared with nobody, this is the last project Fliss wants to be working on. And then Helen Yardley is found dead at her home, and in her pocket is a card with sixteen numbers on it, arranged in four rows of four . . .

I find Sophie Hannah to be an outstanding writer, her plots are often brave and touch upon subjects that most authors would leave well alone. A Room Swept White is a classic example of this as all the way through the book you have the much deeper unspoken subplot of whether or not you, the reader, believes that the three women killed their babies.

Sadly for me the book was lacking key characters to carry such an amazing storyline.

The Simon Waterhouse, Charlie Zailer and Proust relationship has become farcical. Such a shame as a few books back it was brilliant. Now Zailer is basically kept in a box until the author needs her for something, Waterhouse has become borderline psychotic but with none of the charisma which would normally accompany such a role and as for Proust, well, I’m a bit lost for words.

The worst thing for me was the way that the story seemed to jog along with lots of ‘is it this person, is it that person’ and then all of a sudden it felt as though the allocated number of words had been completed therefore, like a magician pulling a rabbit out from a tatty hat, the murderer is revealed and a few other loose ends are randomly and unbelievably tied up all in the space of about 4 pages.

Insulting.

 

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