What a pleasure it is to be in the capable hands of the husband-and-wife duo who jointly write as Nicci French. Their new book, Until It's Over
, is a salutary reminder just how accomplished Nicci Gerrard and Sean French are at turning out sophisticated and disturbing psychological thrillers.
The protagonist of the new book is a young and very fit London cycle courier Astrid Bell, who suddenly seems to be bad news for those around her. When her neighbour Peggy Farrell inadvertently knocks Astrid from her bike, Peggy is subsequently found in an alley, savagely beaten to death. Astrid is assigned to collect a package from a well-heeled women by the name of Ingrid de Soto -- but when she arrives, Astrid discovers her in the hallway of her home, also murdered. Needless to say, the police -- not great believers in coincidence -- begin to take a very close interest in Astrid, and soon life for her and her housemates begins to turn very unpleasant, with internecine squabbling (and a burgeoning apprehension about who is to die next) poisoning once friendly relationships.
The slow and inexorable breakdown in the natural order of things is meat and drink to Nicci French, and the lengthening list of strongly written crime novels has acquired another winner with Until Its Over. It's particularly commendable that French resolutely avoids the temptation to write about a series detective. Powerful stand-alone narratives with ordinary people at the centre are the hallmarks of a Nicci French novel -- long may they remain so. --Barry Forshaw
Praise for Nicci French and "Losing You ""Lose yourself in this smart nail-biter of a tale about a mother's desperate search for her missing teenage daughter."--"People ""Seamless first-person account. . . . This engrossing read captures the importance of the often overlooked and underappreciated minutiae of everyday life while commanding a deeply personal reaction in readers."--"Publishers Weekly" (starred review) "The novel's greatest strength is its cool-eyed portrait of an English village."--"The Washington Post" "What gives Losing You its chief distinction . . . is its unusually emotive color and its flinty protagonist, who, like any mother, understands that no one can possibly care as much about her child as she does. Nina is the parent we'd all like to be under duress, and I find I've become nearly as protective of her as she is of her daughter."--"Salon" "Nicci French . . . know[s] exactly how to maintain the tension . . . Y
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