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Accidents Happen [Paperback]

Louise Millar
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
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Book Description

11 April 2013

Kate Parker has had so much bad luck in her life, she's convinced she's cursed. But when she tries to do her best to keep herself and her son safe, people tell her she's being anxious and obsessive.

Just when her life starts to spin completely out of control, an Oxford professor she meets offers to help. But his methods are not conventional. If she wants to live her life again, he will expect her to take risks.

When a mysterious neighbour starts to take more than a passing interest in her, Kate tries to stay rational and ignore it.

Maybe this, however, is the one time Kate should be worried.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (11 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330545019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330545013
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 13 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 145,575 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.

Find out more about Louise at:

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

About the Author

Louise Millar was brought up in Scotland. She began her journalism career in mainly music and film magazines, working as a sub-editor for Kerrang!, Smash Hits, the NME and Empire. She later moved into features, working as a commissioning editor on women's magazines. She has written for Marie Claire, Red, Psychologies, Stella (Telegraph magazine), the Independent, the Observer, Glamour, Stylist and Eve.

She lives in London with her husband and daughters.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Sinister Thriller 11 April 2013
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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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dissonant and creepy domestic drama 5 April 2013
By Roman Clodia TOP 50 REVIEWER
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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
By Joanne Sheppard TOP 1000 REVIEWER
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit of a let down 13 Jun 2013
By Fievans
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Unexpectedly different
Published 7 days ago by Penny
4.0 out of 5 stars Suspend disbelief
Although the ending lets it down in my opinion, the book is fast paced and the main character interesting in her quirks and faults. Read more
Published 24 days ago by Maitacap
4.0 out of 5 stars Good page turner
Enjoyable, fast read which I would recommend it to fans of Sophie Hannah and Nicci French. Her previous book The Play date was also good.
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Fan47
5.0 out of 5 stars Accidents?
Again an excellent read will look for other books by this author in the future. Read her previous book which had a preview of Accidents Happen and this led me to buy this one.
Published 1 month ago by Tuxedocat
4.0 out of 5 stars Petrifying yet poignant
A fascinating blend of suspense combined with tragedy, at times this book terrified me and at others it made me choke back tears, recommended.
Published 1 month ago by Stef L
4.0 out of 5 stars a page turner!!
Fabulous fast paced story. Hopefully there will be plenty more books to come. Can't wait for the next one to read
Published 2 months ago by lordbumby
4.0 out of 5 stars A book with a difference
I chose a 4 rating as it takes a little while to get going but is then a good book
Published 2 months ago by Joanna Fletcher
2.0 out of 5 stars Not at all impressed
After reading the Playdate, I was looking forward to this book but was so disappointed! I gave up on it which is rare for me. Read more
Published 2 months ago by MW1
4.0 out of 5 stars great!
Gripping. A. Real page turner I loved it and would highly recommend to anyone who loves a good mystery x
Published 2 months ago by Matthew
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
I enjoyed this book although I found it a bit dark & uncomfortable at times. It is well written .
Published 3 months ago by Lulan
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