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The Other Half Lives (Culver Valley Crime) Paperback – 3 Sep 2009


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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; Culver Valley Crime Book 4 edition (3 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340933151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340933152
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling writer of psychological crime fiction, published in 27 countries. In 2013, her novel The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the Specsavers National Book Awards. Sophie has also published five collections of poetry. Her fifth, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 T S Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A-level and degree level across the UK. Sophie lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College. She has recently written a new novel starring Hercule Poirot, approved by the Agatha Christie estate and due to be published in September 2014. This new Poirot novel has already sold to more than 30 countries. Sophie's website is www.sophiehannah.com, and you can follow her on Twitter at @sophiehannahcb1.

Product Description

Review

'This utterly gripping thriller should establish her as one of the great unmissables of this genre - intelligent, classy and with a wonderfully Gothic imagination' (The Times on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'Sophie Hannah is very very good at setting things up and moving on - a chunky book you'll get through in no time' (Evening Standard)

'A masterclass in plotting that adds twist after twist in a hectic finale' (Sunday Times on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'Beautifully written and precision-engineered to unsettle' (Guardian on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'The interest of any crime or thriller fan will be piqued by Hannah's early chapters, but even the most Machiavellian-minded will be confounded by the serpentine twists of her audacious plotting.' (Independent on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'Hannah brings us spectacularly sinister characters and throws them into some wincingly creepy dilemmas' (Independent on Sunday, Books of the Year)

'This book is long but never tedious, and, as with the finest examples of the genre, Hannah refuses to allow the reader any hope of predicting how it will all end until she decides to put the final piece of the jigsaw in place' (Daily Express on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'It's a difficult tightrope to walk but Hannah does it triumphantly, maintaining the tension until the very end' (Val McDermid, The Times)

'Beautifully written and absorbingly chilling, this is a tale that steadily builds in tension, throwing up twists and turns that keep you guessing right up until the very end' (SHE on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'An intricate and sinister suspense novel' (Woman & Home on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'Sophie Hannah is the new British queen of the psychological thriller' (Heat)

'Sophie Hannah has become the master, or mistress, of suspense. This one's even better than her others. Each moment is so purely enjoyable. Her genius is that she creates these very real characters - absolutely incredible. She's at the very peak of crime fiction at the moment.' (Boyd Hilton, Simon Mayo, BBC Radio 5 Live)

'Sophie Hannah has done this before and is doing it again brilliantly. You have to keep turning the pages. As twisted as fairy lights in the loft after Christmas. Very clever, very cunning.' (Joel Morris, Simon Mayo, BBC Radio 5 Live)

'A truly gripping thriller' (Psychologies on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'A complex, unnerving study of relationships . . . Her exemplary skills put Hannah right up there with Ruth Rendell.' (Kirkus Reviews on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'This is a monster book in every sense. It is both a chunky psychological thriller and a testamony to the legacy of depravity . . . The trademark neuroses that afflict many of Sophie Hannah's characters lead to multiple twists in the plot, while her brilliantly acerbic dialogue lightens this clever but complicated tale' (Charlotte Norman, Waterstone's Books Quarterly on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'The pages keep turning . . . The firm grip of suspense will hold you fast until the thrilling ending.' (Sunday Telegraph, Australia)

A terrific page-turner, one of those really creepy suspense novels with so many twists that it is impossible to guess the ending. (Bookseller on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'A real chiller; the clever plot will keep you hooked and guessing to the end' (Choice on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'Genuinely unsettling . . . Fabulous stuff ' (shotsmag.co.uk on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

'Hannah, like Rendell and Fremlin before her, takes ordinary domestic setting and turns them into something extraordinary . . . THE OTHER HALF LIVES proves that she is an established force to be reckoned with . . . a marvellous piece of literary conjuring' (Crime Squad magazine)

'Sophie Hannah brings many gifts to crime fiction. She is a poet whose use of language is precise, and her images are evocative. As a novelist, her overriding interests lie in people on the edge and in the relationships that have driven them there.' (Times Literary Supplement)

'Sophie Hannah is very, very good at setting things up and moving on - a chunky book you'll get through in no time' (Evening Standard on THE OTHER HALF LIVES)

Book Description

Why would anyone admit to the murder of someone who wasn't dead? The fourth psychological suspense novel from the phenomenal word-of-mouth bestselling Hannah.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pattycake on 4 Dec. 2011
Format: Hardcover
I started reading this, and then kept reading it to see how the author could resolve the situation she had set up. The answer is, only by making the explanation so ludicrous that I am surprised the book was ever published. I felt cheated. If she could not think of a decent ending, she should have junked the plot, not tried to convince the readers that that this could happen in any realm of possibility.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr. C. J. G. Wright on 19 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
This was the first book by Sophie Hannah I have read and I found it quite frustrating. There was a good central mystery but its impact was diluted by a cacophony of superfluous characters especially amongst the police. The book would have had more impact with fewer pages.
In order to maintain suspense the backstories of the central characters were revealed slowly but for readers new to the series there was also a needless reveal on Charlie Zailer's backstory and as this was brief it could have been put in earlier, bringing all readers up to date. There was no indication in my book that this was part of a series. I wondered why there were so many police, rather skimpily characterised but now I realise they were all dragged in from earlier books to the detriment of this one. None of their interactions seemed particularly interesting, logical or believable.
This is not real life crime but some of the actions in this book were nonsensical even for artists. So that was a slight problem. And what was supposed to be happening in the final chapter?
These could all have been addressed by a decent bit of editing. Then this book could have been very good.
I think the positive reviewers in the media were trying to keep the pot boiling for a British poet.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Susie on 15 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
I loved Sophie Hannah's previous three psychological thrillers, however 'The Other Half Lives' was a huge disappointment. Having looked forward to reading it I was greatly relieved to finally finish it. The plot was so convoluted and twisted that this seemed to be the entire point of the book, rather than the story itself. The book was as tedious as the relationship between the priniciple characters Simon and Charlie is becoming. There was barely another sympathetic character in the book. There were pages and pages and more pages of explanation of the dreary plot and the 'reveal' itself went on for chapters. The final scene with one of the principle characters gasping out her version of events made me cringe on behalf of the author, it was embarrassingly bad. Despite a completely ludicrous premise I feel this could have been a good book if it had been edited by about a hundred pages ? Where was the editor ? I hope Sophie Hannah goes on to write more thrillers, but that they are much more akin to her previous three than this one and that this isn't the start of a Patricia Cornwell type descent into pap.
I'm at a loss to understand the favourable reviews given to the book by some of the national press. I can only think that it's a case of Emperor's New Clothes, nobody wanted to admit that actually the plot was insanely beyond them and beyond almost anybody's boredom threshold.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Richard Carter on 21 April 2009
Format: Hardcover
Like others who have reviewed this, I am a fan of Sophie Hannah's and looked forward to reading this book, but was sadly disappointed. The characters were deeply unsympathetic (the only one who's half way reasonable is Charlie's sister, with whom one feels deeply in her exasperation with Charlie), both the two main protagonists and the two police - and I'm by now utterly fed up with Charlie and Simon's totally unconvincing "romance" (that isn't), to the point where it's quite impossible to see what they see in each other or why they ever became involved in the first place.

For neurotic/psychotic characters the reader is much better off with Barbara Vine, and for police with difficulties with relationships I shall stick to the far superior Kate Atkinson. Avoid this one!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Moonlit VINE VOICE on 13 Sept. 2009
Format: Paperback
On page 491, the author writes: "The story, when Charlie told it to herself, seemed too outlandish to be possible." Never a truer statement was written in a book. This story is so implausible, even by psychological thriller standards, that I threw it across the room at one point. None of the characters are likeable. That in itself doesn't matter. After all, Humbert Humbert must be one of the most unpleasant characters ever created yet Lolita is a superbly written book. No, what matters is that I didn't care at all what happened to the characters. They deserved each other. I enjoyed Little Face, didn't think much of Hurting Distance and found The Point of Rescue ok. After this one though, I won't buy another of her books.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By H. Barratt on 1 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up, excited to read a book by an author I'd not read before. Normally I love thrillers and crime fiction. However, I've found 'The Other Half Lives' deeply frustrating. The plot hangs around a man, Aidan Seed, confessing to the murder 'years ago' of a woman who is very much alive. His girlfriend, Ruth Bussey, is one of the main characters and frankly irritating. The author tries to create a sense that Something Terrible has happened to several of the characters in the past. However, by halfway through you're no nearer knowing what this is (despite numerous heavy-handed and portentous hints) and the premise of a murder that apparently never happened wears thin. In summary, an over-laden plot involving characters I just can't bring myself to care about. I've given it a good shot, but might have to admit defeat...
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