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Accidents Happen Paperback – 11 Apr 2013

93 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Main Market Ed. edition (11 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330545019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330545013
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.7 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 196,741 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Louise Millar grew up in Scotland, and now lives in London with her husband and two children. Before turning to fiction, she spent 20 years working in magazines and newspapers, starting as a freelance sub-editor on entertainment titles such as the NME, Kerrang!, Empire and Smash Hits, before crossing over into women's magazines and becoming a senior commissioning editor at Marie Claire. In 2006, she left Marie Claire to start a business writing 'ordinary people's memoirs while writing freelance features for magazines and newspapers, and starting work on her debut novel, The Playdate. Her second novel, Accidents Happen, is out now.

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Product Description


Praise for Louise Millar

‘Millar is a genius at capturing the complicated emotions of parenthood, and her taut, suspenseful plot makes this an unputdownable read’ Marie Claire

‘Like the best thrillers, it is quietly creepy and expertly crafted. Add it to your book club reading list now' Stylist

'A well-paced psychological thriller with more than a hint of Minette Walters about it' Sunday Express

'A thought provoking, taut and suspenseful thriller that you won't forget in a hurry' Easy Living

‘Creeping paranoia, nail-biting tension and fiendishly clever plotting . . . I couldn't put this down’ Lucy Diamond

‘Taut, chilling, utterly brilliant; my thriller of the year’ Lisa Jewell

‘There is nothing more chilling than feeling comfortable about a situation only to realise that your trust has been dangerously misplaced . . . a genuinely brilliant book’ Elizabeth Haynes

‘Some great twists and turns. One of my favourite books of 2012’ Mark Edwards

‘Possibly my favourite book of the year!’ Louise Voss

'I started reading and couldn't stop . . . a must-read that will tap into every mother's primal fears' Sophie Hannah

Book Description

What if the one in a million is you?

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Lincs Reader TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 April 2013
Format: Paperback
This is a dark, sinister and at times, downright scary read. Kate's life has been a succession of terrible events. Her parents died in a car accident and her husband Hugo was killed five years ago. Kate is convinced that she is cursed and will do anything possible to ensure that she and her son Jack are safe. Kate and Jack move from London to Oxford, to be near to Hugo's parents and sister. Kate is completely obsessed with statistics, she can't make any decisions without thinking about the 'numbers' that creep into her brain.

You have 55% chance of dying if you are hit by a car at 30 miles per hour.
40% of catering staff do not wash their hands after going to the toilet.

Kate knows the statistics for everything and this is preventing her and Jack leading normal, everyday lives. By trying to protect Jack, she's harming him. Jack is an unhappy little boy, gentle and sensitive, he hates the way that his mother pretends to be carefree, he can see in her eyes that she is faking it.

Hugo's family are at the end of the line with Kate, they are grieving too but they cannot bear to see how unhappy she is making little Jack. The battle lines are drawn and Kate really has to prove to them that she is a good mother.

When Kate meets Jago, a Scottish University professor by chance one day, she is amazed to find that he understands her, and can help her to overcome her fears.

The cleverest thing about this story is that the reader knows that Kate's fears are actually real. Although Kate's paranoia is totally over the top, Louise Millar has ensured that the reader can empathise with her. Only we know that danger is lurking, that Kate's fears are real, she's not going mad at all.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Sheppard TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'd like to have given three-and-a-half stars to this, if Amazon would let me. If you're looking for a page-turning psychological thriller to read on holiday, you could do worse than Louise Millar's Accidents Happen - if SJ Watson's Before I Go To Sleep is your kind of thing, perhaps. Don't, however, turn to this one for gritty realism: it's not strong on plausibility.

The protagonist of Accidents Happen is Kate, an affluent middle-class widow who, after losing first her parents and then her husband in tragic circumstances, has been left convinced that she is 'cursed' and suffering from an anxiety disorder somewhere on the obsessive-compulsive spectrum, constantly running through statistics and probability sums in her head in order to reduce the risk inherent in everything she or her 10-year-old son Jack does. As her anxiety spirals so far out of control that her wealthy in-laws are concerned for Jack's welfare, Kate meets Jago, a professor of maths who has recently published a book about risk in the 'popular science' genre. Jago is certain he can help Kate to overcome her problems with a sort of immersion therapy, encouraging her to carry out what amount to grown-up dares to re-accustom herself to minor risk-taking, and his approach seems to be working. Yet Kate still has a nagging doubt that someone or something may be gaining access to her house, and Jack seems to share the same fear. Are they so consumed by Kate's neuroses that they are seeing dangers where none exist? Or could this be the one and only time when Kate and Jack really are in danger?

The basic premise of Accidents Happen is an original one, and one that captured my attention right from the start.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 5 April 2013
Format: Paperback
Kate is unlucky - fatal accidents play a big part in her life, so it's no surprise that she's always anxious. But now even she thinks she's going too far - she's pushing away her son, her in-laws are increasingly unsympathetic, and she has no friends. So when a new man enters her life, Kate thinks it's time to put her past firmly behind her... but is that ever possible?

This is a creepy, nervous read that reminded me to some extent of Into the Darkest Corner in terms of atmosphere, though the story-line isn't the same. It's tighter than Millar's The Playdate which I thought was excellent though perhaps less believable. Millar excels at creating dissonant domestic dramas where nothing is quite what it seems.

There are some pretty big implausabilities and holes in the plot particularly towards the end, so it's one of those books where it's best to just go with the flow and switch off your more critical facilities. But, despite that, this is gripping and compelling - but perhaps not a book to read when you're alone in the house.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fievans on 13 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Louise Millar is a great story teller and for that I would have given her 4 stars but the plot in Accidents Happen has too many implausible aspects to have an overall 4.

Kate's parents are killed on her wedding night. What are the odds of that happening? A few years later her husband is killed. What are the odds of that happening? These are the sort of questions Kate becomes obsessed with to the extent that her life is ruled by statistics. She won't do anything until she considers how safe it is. Her bizarre behaviour is affecting her son and her in- laws are losing sympathy to the extent that Kate fears they will take him away from her. Just when her anxiety is at it's worse she meets a man who seems the answer to her prayers. A Professor who has written a book about beating the statistics and learning to live again and what's more he is attractive and Kate starts to fall for him as he helps her overcome her fears.

But is everything as it seems? Should Kate be relaxing? What about her creepy neighbour? Are Jago's methods really helping? Can we really leave the past behind?
I don't want to give away the ending( which I didn't see coming) other than to say the odds of it happening must be pretty remote.
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