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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Sinister Thriller
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...
Published 18 months ago by Lincs Reader

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and original but ultimately implausible
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...
Published 18 months ago by Joanne Sheppard


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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark, Sinister Thriller, 11 April 2013
By 
Lincs Reader (Lincolnshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Accidents Happen (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.

Louise Millar weaves a story that keeps the reader gripped from the opening lines. There are twists and turns all over the place, the biggest and most shocking being towards the end. I certainly didn't see it coming, and that for me, makes the perfect reading experience. I love it when a book shocks and surprises me and this one certainly did that.

There is no doubt that Louise Millar is an excellent author and has now produced two very well-written, suspenseful novels that are a must-read for any fan of psychological thrillers
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dissonant and creepy domestic drama, 5 April 2013
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Accidents Happen (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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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and original but ultimately implausible, 6 May 2013
By 
Joanne Sheppard (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Accidents Happen (Paperback)
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. I could easily see that Kate's problem was entirely credible, given her history, and found her an easy character with whom to sympathise as she tries to do the best for her son in parallel with the well-meant but sometimes stifling input of her late husband's family. Jack, too, is wholly believable: at almost eleven, he's just at the age where a desire for more independence sometimes conflicts with day-to-day childhood doubts over outdoor sleepovers and walks down creepy country lanes.

Louise Millar withholds various snippets of information from us throughout the book to keep us turning the pages, revealing something significant every few chapters to keep up our interest and raise our suspicions. Accidents Happen is full of secrets and unspoken family tensions and as such, it's certainly a suspense-packed read. Where I think it falls down is in the characterisation of Jago, who is supposed to be a sufficiently likeable charmer to set Kate's heart fluttering for the first time after her husband's death, but merely came across to me as an insufferably smug pillock from whom any sensible woman would have walked away on date one, and in the ending, which I simply found so implausible as to be almost disappointing. I can't deny that it's been very cleverly worked out, but I just found it impossible to believe and executed at a pace that seemed rushed. I could have accepted how terribly unlikely it all was if it had been revealed more gradually, but having it all thrown at me within such a short space of time did give me, to quote Through The Looking Glass, the sensation of 'believing six impossible things before breakfast'.

Accidents Happen (again, rather like Before I Go To Sleep) is a book that benefits from a certain disengagement of one's brain when you read it. Try to forget that none of this would happen in a million years, and just sit back and enjoy it.
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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
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This review is from: Accidents Happen (Paperback)
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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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Tedious at times, 7 July 2013
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This review is from: Accidents Happen (Kindle Edition)
The idea for this book was good, and it was certainly tense, but, Oh, the tedium of reading details of " The Pranks". I almost gave up, which would have been a shame. Too much of the book was taken up in descriptions of what, on the face of it, were childish stunts. Luckily I skipped through to find a fairly satisfying end.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 28 April 2013
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This review is from: Accidents Happen (Paperback)
First in a long time that I couldn't put a book down until I finished it. I haven't given it 5 stars as I found the beginning to the middle a little silly and farfetched but the second half of the story was excellent. I certainly hadn't expected the twist halfway through and raced through the rest of the story to find out what happened...will look forward to Louise Millar's next novel! If you are a fan of thrillers with a twist then you must read this book!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars trust your instincts, 17 April 2013
By 
maggiefb (Famagusta, Cyprus) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Accidents Happen (Kindle Edition)
Having enjoyed Millar's first novel, The Playdate, I looked forward to reading Accidents Happen.
Kate is a 35-year-old mother of 10-year-old Jack. Both have experienced tragedies in their lives so far: Kate's parents were killed in a car crash on her wedding day; then her husband Hugo was murdered after having his expensive car stolen by a gang. Kate and her son moved from London to Oxford after the murder to be near her in-laws, but since then the house has been burgled twice.
Using a technique common to some other psychological thrillers, the narrative is interspersed with short passages describing the thoughts and feelings of an unknown child which appear to be unrelated to the story.
Kate has resolved to do something about her seemingly irrational, though understandable fears, which manifest in an obsession with accident statistics and household security, as they are obviously having adverse effects on Jack. Although her in-laws have become fed up with her anxiety and extreme safety measures, the reader gradually becomes aware that she does indeed have something to worry about in the person of her creepy neighbour Magnus.
After a failed attempt at counselling, Kate meets Jago, an Edinburgh University professor who has written a book called Beat The Odds And Change Your Life, which presents the very statistics Kate has become obsessed with. As their relationship develops, Kate really feels he is helping her to change her life and move on.

I did trust my instincts here, though there were still some surprises by the end of the book. I found this gripping and easy to read and will definitely look for future books by Louise Millar.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So slow, so improbable, 15 May 2013
This review is from: Accidents Happen (Paperback)
I used one of my precious Audible credits on this book and almost immediately regretted it. There are infinitely better thriller writers around.
My husband and I share our Audible books but I wouldn't inflict this one on him. It felt like a story specially written for women - all the sighing over Hugo and then over Jago, the stuff about worrying over Jack.
M-i-Law at the Aga, F-i-Law booming clichés, waspish sister-in-law. Joanna Trollope does middle class domestic family life and shines at it. Her small dramas are worth reading. This story was far too fantastic and utterly improbable. I was bored until the last chapter when things began to liven up but the ending felt unsatisfactory - and Kate was still being gooey, even as she parachuted to safety.
Well read on Audible by Clare Corbett. She delivered the accents and children's voices perfectly.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Gripping Read, 7 April 2013
By 
C. Colley (Lincs) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Accidents Happen (Paperback)
I loved The Playdate by Louise Millar and her second book Accidents Happen is just as gripping. The story centres on Kate Parker. So many bad things have happened in Kate's life that Kate's days are filled with anxiety and obsessive thoughts. To keep herself and her son safe, Kate is constantly thinking of ways to avoid danger, and going out of her way to avoid it. In fact Kate is so over-protective of her son that her in-laws have threatened to step in.
Things turn a corner when a new man comes into Kate's life, and her obsessive behaviour begins to improve. As the story moves along, the reader is kept guessing about Kate's new acquaintance and what the outcome will be.
One sign of a good read is when the feelings of a main character are immediately transferred to the reader and that's what happens in this book. The story takes a few pages to get going, but I felt Kate's anxiety from the start. The tension turns down a notch about two thirds through and then picks up for the last twists and turns of the story.
This is a well-plotted and thrilling story. The feeling of unease never goes away and I raced through the book so that my mind could settle down.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Suspend disbelief, 17 Jun 2014
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Maitacap (Essex, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Accidents Happen (Kindle Edition)
Although the ending lets it down in my opinion, the book is fast paced and the main character interesting in her quirks and faults. The mental illness theme is handled expertly and without sentimentality, giving readers the chance to make up their own mind. And whereas at times it is difficult not to scream at the page in frustration, I found it quite easy to warm to Catherine and her desperate attempts to fight incredibly unfavourable odds and salvage her relationship with her son. Ending is disappointing and far fetched but, unlike other books, it did not spoil it for me.
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Accidents Happen
Accidents Happen by Louise Millar (Paperback - 11 April 2013)
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