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Good start but becomes increasingly implausible
on 25 January 2010
I'm mixed about Hannah's books: I loved Hurting Distance and The Other half Lives; felt cheated by Little Face, and am disappointed by this one. SH always writes to a structure formula: first person narrative by a woman-in-jeopardy interspersed with a third person narrative from the police point of view. Here there are additional diary entries which are purportedly from a dead woman.
The problem with this book (as other reviewers have said) is that the plot becomes more and more holey and turns on some enormous coincidences, compounded by glaring omissions from the police. The attempt to tie the whole thing up at the end is rushed and a bit silly.
However, parts of this are very good: the taboo subject of the woman who isn't a natural mother is aired even if not always convincingly. And the actual crime I found creepily chilling.
But to detract, the characterisation feels very wobbly especially with Sally: for someone who supposedly has a PhD and is meant to be a professional career woman who loves her job, she appears very stupid and often a little pathetic.
So a mixed bag: less tense than the good Hannah novels, and with a plot which collapses in on itself. Could have been much better than it is.