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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychological Suspense from England
This author (well, authors - Nicci French is a pseudonym for two journalists) is a master of psychological thrillers, and is my favourite writer to come out of England. These standalone novels take ordinary people living ordinary lives, and turn their existence into the stuff of very real nightmares. In this book, cycle courier Astrid Bell's neighbour is murdered, and a...
Published on 27 Dec 2007 by Tez Miller

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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A brave experiment that falls somewhat flat
After their last book 'Losing You' was written in "real time" - covering a woman's search for her missing daughter over a period of about six hours, which is roughly how long it took to read - Nicci Gerrard and Sean French have tried another new approach in their latest novel 'Until It's Over'. This time the book is split into two parts: the first, slightly longer part...
Published on 11 April 2008 by M. D. Smart


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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Psychological Suspense from England, 27 Dec 2007
This review is from: Until it's Over (Paperback)
This author (well, authors - Nicci French is a pseudonym for two journalists) is a master of psychological thrillers, and is my favourite writer to come out of England. These standalone novels take ordinary people living ordinary lives, and turn their existence into the stuff of very real nightmares. In this book, cycle courier Astrid Bell's neighbour is murdered, and a random client of Astrid's is dead when she arrives to collect a package. But it's a third murder that leads the police to believe that there is no such thing as coincidence in this case. The book was quite a cracker, until it switched to the POV of the culprit - then there was a rehash of the events through the killer's eyes. While it was nice to read some explanation, it didn't seem entirely necessary. Nevertheless, I'm eagerly awaiting the author's next book.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A brave experiment that falls somewhat flat, 11 April 2008
By 
M. D. Smart (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Until it's Over (Hardcover)
After their last book 'Losing You' was written in "real time" - covering a woman's search for her missing daughter over a period of about six hours, which is roughly how long it took to read - Nicci Gerrard and Sean French have tried another new approach in their latest novel 'Until It's Over'. This time the book is split into two parts: the first, slightly longer part follows a young cycle courier named Astrid and her six housemates as they find themselves caught up in a series of murders. The second part of the book follows the same basic storyline from the point of view of the killer, explaining how and (partly) why the killings took place. It's a risky move to reveal the identity of the guilty party with over 150 pages left to go, but the authors manage to keep the story going pretty well. I felt my interest waning as I started the second part of the book, but a clever twist revitalises the story and kept me turning the pages.

Anyone who shared a house as a student will definitely recognise the noisy chaos of 72 Maitland Road, where Astrid and the other characters live. Nicci French captures the atmosphere well; I actually felt quite a pang of nostalgia for my student days reading about life in the house (without the murders, obviously...). However, I never got a real sense of who the characters were. They seemed as if they could be summed up by one or two particular traits: Miles is weak, Pippa is promiscuous, Mick is silent, Dario is a stoner, and so on. Even Astrid, who is the narrator for the first part of the book, never really came across as a particularly well-defined character - I never felt like I knew any of them.

Also, the murders seemed almost incidental to the story at times. There's not much of the usual finding of clues, building of suspicions and planting of red herrings that we've come to expect from a Nicci French thriller. A lot of the book is taken up with the housemates arguing over their impending eviction, then every once in a while a body pops up and the police arrive. It just didn't build up gradually into a tense mystery the way I hoped. The dynamics of a shared house are captured well, and the second half of the book was actually better than I expected - although, despite it being told from the killer's point of view, we are never presented with any truly convincing explanation of what turned the guilty person into a psychopath. It just felt a little unsatisfying.

This is still a very readable book, and I think Nicci French fans will get some pleasure from it, but I must admit I was a little disappointed. We never really get to know the characters, which makes it hard to care about them, and we never get much of an explanation as to what's behind the killer's damaged psyche. As a thriller, there's no denying it leaves something to be desired.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No one writes thrillers like Nicci French - brilliant!, 29 Mar 2008
By 
Mrs. S. Jones "Sophie Hannah" (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Until it's Over (Hardcover)
Nicci French's novels are unusual in that they are not only extremely clever, psychologically astute thrillers, but they are also strong, atmospheric stories about contemporary women's lives. This one is about Astrid, a bicycle courier in London, who starts to worry when she realises someone is deliberately killing people she knows - either to scare her or to implicate her, she thinks. Like French's other novels, this one feels horribly, chillingly plausible - you can actually imagine it happening to you, or someone you know. The structure of this book, without wanting to give anything away, is very clever and surprising - almost a little shocking, even, but it certainly works. The best thing about French's novels, though, is that the voice and atmosphere are absolutely unique and recognisable as 'Nicci French World', and linger in your mind long after you've finished reading. French's crime novels also have a refreshingly humane feel to them - the writer(s), one senses, have a real faith in human nature, so that the books are always uplifting, despite the murders they contain. The villains aren't frothing-at-the-mouth psychos, they're flawed, damaged people that it's hard not to identify with to a certain extent, whatever they've done. Last but not least, this novel, like French's entire oeuvre, is absolutely gripping and impossible to put down, and leaves you desperately keen to get your hands on the next one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots to like about this, a good read., 12 Sep 2011
This review is from: Until it's Over (Hardcover)
No doubt about it these two put in a credible effort each time..though having said that, their latest, Blue Monday is rather under par.
This one follows their more usual pattern a 'woman in peril' novel. Nearly all their heroines seem to have unusual jobs, thus making their day to day lives more interesting than those of us stuck in front of dull screens. This time Astrid is a bike courier and she has a very close circle of friends. This latter point is also often a feature of French novel in another book I remember a group called 'the crew'. This time the group shares a house with Astrid and it may be that someone in that house is not what they seem, or is it an outsider that threatens Astrid's peace and maybe even her life.? The book goes on at a cracking pace we soon get a murder and that's only the first, lots of incident some sexy bits, some nasty characters to hate and a good description of modern London life. The writing duo are very competent at drawing a variety of characters and their interaction. The second part of the book moves from Astrid's point of view to that of the baddie and it is less well done, in my opinion. If there is a fault it is the plot is a bit flimsy and unbelievable and I found it all ran out of steam rather towards the end. I have found that in other French novels it may well be just me but I find that these writers are better at setting up plots rather than tidying the ends up in a suspenseful and satisfying conclusion. Well worth aread though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Didn't want it to be over!, 1 Dec 2009
By 
J.Flood (Dublin,Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Until it's Over (Paperback)
I've read a number of Nicci French novels, and I to say I found Until It's Over, one of the better ones. The first part of the novel centres around Astrid Bell, who lives with a number of housemates, in a large house in London. We see the unfolding story through her eyes.

Astrid works as a cycle courier, and one evening while cycling home, she is accidently knocked off her bike, by a neighbour opening her car door. Later, that neighbour is found dead. A few days later Astrid is asked to pick up a package, in an posh neighbourhood. When she arrives at the house, she finds the owner murdered in her hallway. Needless, to say, this is too much of a coincidence, for the police, and they begin to investigate, Astrid and her housemates.

In the second part of the novel, we see the same events unfold, but this time, through the eyes of the killer. I thought this part of the story would be less interesting, as the killer has been revealed to the reader, but this was not the case. In fact, this part of the novel is possibly more exciting, as we see how the killer manipulates the housemates, and the police to their advantage.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable novel, that had me hooked from start to finish. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who likes 'whodunnit' type thrillers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another cracking read, 9 Jun 2009
This review is from: Until it's Over (Paperback)
Nicci French gives us another great read. I felt it had a feel of a Barbara Vine novel. I wasn't sure about how well Part 2 would turn out; an interesting twist whereby the reader knows the murderer but the characters don't. Think it worked and I guess it was interesting to know why he did what he did. As someone who house-shared myself, i could identify with Astrid and the relationships she had with her house mates and found it entirely plausible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly contrived but still well above average, 22 April 2009
By 
Martin Gee - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Until it's Over (Paperback)
Nicci French always goes for the darker more disturbing aspects of human nature and this book is no exception. The book is intriguing and turns in unpredictable ways. There is an in depth psychological exploration of one of the characters along with quite a large number of less well developed people. The book does vary in style; its almost like it was written by two writers! Its a great read and I recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the last, 28 Mar 2009
This review is from: Until it's Over (Paperback)
'Until It's Over' This book is a good read - twisted but believable and much more enjoyable than their last book. The way it is split into two parts suits the novel. I really enjoy these two writers and will look forward to their latest effort when in paperback.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shared Lives, 27 April 2013
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Until it's Over (Paperback)
This book by Nicci French is told from two perspectives. The first half is told by Astrid Bell. She is the girl, everyone dreams about, but she does not have her life in order. She is messenger biker, bringing packages and messages to those who order them.The second half is told by the murderer. The second half is the clincher, as the tension builds, we are with the murderer as he plots his way along.

Astrid lives in an old house in London with a disparate group of individuals. They all have their stories and we get to know most of them intimately. It seems like a likable group, all of them pay a pittance and supposedly they pitch in and help out with the needs of the house. Miles owns the house, Astrid and Pippa moved in at the same time, roommates from another apartment. Owen, a photographer and loner. Davy works on construction and has a girlfriend Mel. Mick is mostly silent, and Dario is a stoner, selling drugs from the house, though no one knows that until late into the story. Along comes Leah, girlfriend of Miles and upsets the group dynamics. And, then, the murders begin.

Some of the characters in the book were very well developed and we get to know them well. But, others are glossed over. The detectives and police department are filled with unusual characters,and I would have loved to learn more about them. The storyline is new and interesting. Descriptions are proficient and well defined. But, this is too big a story,too much to tell, too many characters to get to know. The dynamics of the characters and their situation are well covered and believable. Too much, too soon, but a story to tell.

Recommended. prisrob 04-27-13
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good start is not sustained, 19 Mar 2010
By 
purpleheart (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Until it's Over (Paperback)
'I had cycled around London for week after week, month after month, and I knew that one day I would have an accident'.

The novel starts with bicycle courier Astrid's accident and introduces us quickly to her world in a shared house with some kooky housemates and to a neighbour who is murdered.

Once again, I've found that this Nicci French novel starts with exuberance and style - I feel in very safe hands - but then disappoints as the novel continues. It wasn't exactly a page turner in the second half. The structure is interesting but saps tension. I felt that there wasn't enough mystery for a classic whodunnit and not enough convincing psychology for a psyhological thriller. But, of course, it's the Nicci French team so the prose is good, they have some fun with a different type of female protagonist (I think we've done enough intellectual women - let's have a sporty type) and it's more polished than many trying to do the same thing.

In my opinion it's for your sun lounger only and I think I'll be taking quite a hiatus before I read another Nicci French.
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