Sophie Hannahs debut thriller novel, Little Face
, immediately marked her out as a particularly penetrating and insightful practitioner of the psychological crime novel, with a skill for getting into the minds of her beleaguered characters, a skill she continued to polish in its successor, Hurting Distance
. Her second book was a particular achievement, given that so many second novels fail to live up to the promise of their predecessors. And here is Sophie Hannah's third novel, The Point of Rescue
, and it might be argued that it is her most accomplished book yet.
A woman is watching a report on television of the death of a mother and daughter; apparently both had died at the mother's hand. Also on the screen is the surviving member of the family, a widower described as Mark Bretherick. Watching with her husband, the woman, Sally, has to bite back the words that spring to her lips: this man is not Mark Bretherick! How does she know? Because she had enjoyed a brief sexual affair with the real possessor of that name some time before -- an affair (needless to say) she has not revealed to her husband. Sally is forced to hang on to her secret, and she anonymously informs the police that all is not as it appears to be in this case.
It is Sally's plight that so comprehensively engages the reader here, but readers of the earlier books by Sophie Hannah will be pleased to note the reappearance of her reliable copper Simon Waterhouse, who ensures that the sequences involving the investigation are quite as compelling as the those of a woman desperately trying to keep her indiscretion secret (while doing the right thing).
On the evidence of these three books, Sophie Hannah has a long career as a novelist ahead of her (perhaps to run in tandem with her alternative career as a poet). --Barry Forshaw
'Sophie Hannah is adept at picking creepy scenarios that are guaranteed to terrify, with plot complications that keep you guessing until the last page. Hannah doesn't allow the tension to slacken for a second in this addictive, brilliantly chilling thriller.' (Marie Claire Book of the Month )
(Red Magazine )
'I'm surprised I had any nails left by the end of this addictive thriller.' (Eve )
'This disturbing tale is a cut above the average crime thriller, with an intelligent and inventive plot that raises questions about identity, guilt and the taboo of unfulfilling motherhood.' (Psychologies )
'A great read and an involving thriller' (She )
Hannah's greatest strenth is the way she uses the conventions of the crime genre to produce novels that are indulgent pleasures, but with an extra edge. The Point of Rescue isn't simply a woman-in-jeopardy yarn about an overworked mother whose dreams of escape turn into a nightmare that threatens to destroy her life (although it works brilliantly on this level), it is also about the thrill of transgression, and the dangers that lurk within the most appealing of fantasies.'