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85 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced, shocking, amazing!
I read a pre-publication copy of this book that a friend passed on to me because I read and loved 'Little Face' - and I was worried this book would suffer from 'second-novel-syndrome'. No chance of that - it's brilliant, and definitely one of the most exciting thrillers I've read. The writing is beautifully poised and clear, the plot is multi-layered and extremely...
Published on 28 Mar. 2007 by Sandy D

versus
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not brilliant
I have to disagree with most of the other reviewers and say I felt it started well, interesting scenario, interesting main character, but as the book went on it descended into a less and less believable crime thriller and the last section was pretty ridiculous.
Published on 19 Oct. 2007 by Aberdour Humby


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85 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast-paced, shocking, amazing!, 28 Mar. 2007
By 
Sandy D (Addingham, West Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
I read a pre-publication copy of this book that a friend passed on to me because I read and loved 'Little Face' - and I was worried this book would suffer from 'second-novel-syndrome'. No chance of that - it's brilliant, and definitely one of the most exciting thrillers I've read. The writing is beautifully poised and clear, the plot is multi-layered and extremely cleverly structured, Naomi is a great obsessive heroine (or perhaps anti-heroine's more accurate) - Sophie Hannah is getting more and more adept at exploring the dark side of the human psyche. Parts of this book are seriously chilling and disturbing, and there's a cleverly created sense of paranoia throughout - has Naomi's lover, Robert, been murdered? If so, by whom? Why won't his wife, Juliet, talk to anybody about what happened? I'm usually quite good at guessing the ends of thrillers, but I defy anyone to guess what's going on here. This novel also contains one of the most chilling, understated 'baddies' I've ever met in fiction. I would recommend this book to anyone (with a strong stomach!)
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than her first novel!!, 20 Sept. 2007
By 
John Davis (Belfast Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have just returned from holiday where I saved this book for the plane home. I devoured it in under 4 hours! I loved "Little Face" and had bought both books together as part of a special offer and it was money well spent! In both books there are sections where you genuinely get the creeps reading but you cannot wait to read more! Sophie Hannah conveys how each character feels in such a way that you genuinely feel like you know them. I liked that the police characters of Charlie and Simon (as well as their colleagues) were carried over from the first novel and thought it was a nice touch that Simon was thinking about contacting the lead character from the previous novel. This only added to the familiarity with the characters for me. I would agree with the previous reviewers who thought this book may be disappointing or not quite as good given how excellent "Little Face" was but I was amazed at how much I preferred this story. And to top it all off there was a teaser for her third novel at the back of this one and I am now desperate to read it - but it's not out until next year! Sophie Hannah is a superb writer and these two first novels cannot be beat in my opinion.
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53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific, 10 Jun. 2007
I had read Little Face and enjoyed it, but I think Hurting Distance is even better. The plot is complex and layered, dependent on coincidence but not implausibly so and the characters are interesting and far outstrip the customary clichés of the genre. This is a beautifully constructed and crafted book, and I am only sorry that I will have to wait another year for the next book. This one really deserves to take off and hit the big time. The central premise of the plot is really creepy and very cleverly revealed. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My book of 2007!, 29 Dec. 2007
I read Hurting Distance last night (30th Dec) and it has blown all the other competition out of the water for my book of 2007...

I really didn't much like Little Face by the same author and only picked this up as there was nothing else available and within 5 minutes I was engrossed. The novel looks at crime from a very different viewpoint to most books, giving a dimension to victim, police and perpetrator as the trinity of crime that creates a truly mesmerising aspect as the plot unfolds with the mixture of simple and sheer coincidence that only real life tends to offer.

The characters are a similiar mixture of incredibly real yet incredibly unreal that makes it feel like you really are following the Naomi's narration of her story as an invited observer which adds tension and heartbreak as the novel progresses.

I defy anyone to guess the ending of this novel...I was gasped out loud when it was finally revealed...and if I hadn't been in an airport lounge it would have made me cry...

This is a heartbreaking novel that will haunt you but thrill you with the quality of the writing and characters. Truly exceptional!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, chilling and convincing, 7 Nov. 2007
By 
SJSmith (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
I wish there were more stars availabe as this book has left me chilled. I was captivated! I read the second half of the book alone last night and I wish I hadn't; my heart was racing. Although there are a few bits I'd like to discuss with someone to clear up; this has got to be the best thriller I've read this year and possibly one of my top ten books of the year.

I've not read `Little Face' therefore I have no preconceptions of this writer's style. If it's as good as this I'll wait until I have company thank you very much! I did partially struggle with the how Sophie Hannah had Naomi addressing Robert as `you' as this made the reading somewhat challenging. However, when the plot runs away from about Chapter 9, I was able to switch off from this.

We are introduced to quite a few characters over the space of the novel but the main one is Naomi Jenkins. Having suffered a traumatic experience (and I mean traumatic, it is quite horrific) three years ago, she hasn't really got over it in my opinion. Having never told anyone she decides to describe it in detail when her married lover, Robert Haworth goes missing. She figures that by saying Robert committed the crime in question against her the police will take her concerns seriously, as opposed to presenting herself as a jealous mistress.

I've not carried out any research into this book so I don't know how Sophie Hannah has been able to write with such clarity but my goodness it is disturbing and gripping. You will like Naomi one minute and despise her next; then there comes along her flat mate, the detective and other characters. Be prepared for one huge rollercoaster. Cancel your plans and turn on the fire; this is a read you need to be ready for.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not brilliant, 19 Oct. 2007
I have to disagree with most of the other reviewers and say I felt it started well, interesting scenario, interesting main character, but as the book went on it descended into a less and less believable crime thriller and the last section was pretty ridiculous.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging story, till it got bonkers, 12 Aug. 2012
This review is from: Hurting Distance: Culver Valley Crime Book 2 (Spilling CID series) (Kindle Edition)
This is an interesting novel and my first by Sophie Hannah, which was given to me by a friend.

The female characters are well drawn and believable but she doesn't quite pull off the male characters. My biggest gripe is the central relationship between Naomi and Robert. We're told Naomi is a successful, intelligent, independent businesswoman, but are then expected to believe she'd be head over heels with Robert, a dull, predictable lorry driver, who admits he's too spineless to leave his wife and only sees Naomi for three hours a week in a grotty motorway hotel. He even folds his clothes before they have sex. It doesn't convince.

It's a brave move to make the main female character so disagreeable. I didn't like Naomi and found the opening chapter, narrated by her, to be stilted. Had I read it in a bookshop, I'd have put it back without buying. It warmed up as it went on and as the story progressed I found Naomi interesting, if a little annoying but I didn't really care about any of the characters.

The central mystery kept me going but once the secrets began getting revealed and the motives became clearer, it got more and more far-fetched. Particularly Zailer's wildly unprofessional behaviour, her cavalier and unethical treatment of a rape victim and the reasoning for the crimes. Conveniently, there was never a solicitor present during their Life on Mars style interrogations of the victims/suspects and anyway, the suspects would never spill the beans so comprehensively while barely being prompted. They might as well have said 'It's a fair cop, guv' and held out their wrists for the handcuffs.

It didn't ring true on many levels, especially the way the victims were targeted - from a criminal's viewpoint, it just didn't add up. Zailer said there were no coincidences but there were, particularly with her personal involvement with the case, which I won't spell out as it would spoil the story. To quote Naomi, `There are too many connections, too many links that are wrong.' I couldn't agree more. The story collapsed because it wan't believable and it was as if the main character was being put in perilous situations for the sake of making it a thriller, which is a shame when the writing is good.

I don't usually read police detective novels so maybe I'm not your standard reader of this sort of novel, but I found the will-they-won't-they storyline about Zailer and her male colleague decidedly clichéd and unoriginal. I assume the other novels in the series follow the same style and spin out the non-existent romance, but I was already tired of it after one book in the series.

I admire Sophie Hannah's writing, this book had a page turning quality and the psychology is interesting but the plot is ludicrous. I'll check reviews of her other novels and see if she's written anything more grounded in reality.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hurting Distance - A Triumph, 17 Feb. 2009
The subject of Hurting Distance is rape, not an easy subject for any author. But then isn't the whole point of fiction to deal with the good and the bad? At the start of the novel we are shown an email, written by N.J a victim of rape, on the Speak Out and Survive website telling not of her story of rape but of her dislike for people who have been raped speaking out and attention seeking and how she is jealous of the other people on the site with their `demanding boyfriends'. Instantly I felt like this could be awkward territory a rape victim who both disliked and was jealous of other rape victims, could Hannah deal with this unusual look at rape in a delicate way and yet make a hard hitting crime story out of it? The answer was of course yes.

N.J it turns out, in the next chapter so I am not spoiling anything, is Naomi Jenkins a sundial maker. From the outside she is a professional successful young business woman deep down she harbours a terrible secret from her past. Every Thursday night like clockwork Naomi meets her married lover Robert Haworth at the Traveltel they check into the same room, number eleven and spend the same amount of hours together and have done so for over a year. One day Robert doesn't turn up, in fact it appears he has vanished. Naomi reports it to the police but they think she has simply dumped him and ignore her. After going to his house and seeing something so shocking it both scares her and blanks her memory Naomi is sure something dreadful has happened and realises if she wants the police to find him she will have to convince them that he is a dangerous criminal.

I found Naomi an incredibly complex character. She goes through several different character traits in the book from powerful professional, victim, obsessive lover, jealous lover, calculating liar to vengeful woman. Hannah has created a very unlikely sort of anti-hero, how can I put that better? Though I didn't really like Naomi or her ethics I couldn't stop reading her and I also could see why she did what she did even though really it wasn't right. Puzzled? Read the book and you won't be.

Amongst the incredibly tight and twist laden story Hannah also continues the story of Detectives Charlie and Simon as Charlie is still fawning over Simon even after he rejected her advances at a party and after the last infatuation he had with the victim of Little Face in the previous novel. So amongst the already complex plotting is another one that adds its own tensions and complexities and you get to know them and their colleagues further.

I had wondered if Hannah would be able to better Little Face as it was just so good. With Hurting Distance she has bettered it (though that doesn't take anything away from its predecessor) and come up with an incredibly complex plot and some incredibly complex characters. There is suspense and a lot of twists without it being over complicated and though I cottoned on to one of links before it was announced I would never have guessed the four or more twists that then followed on. Superb!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, chilling and convincing, 7 Nov. 2007
By 
SJSmith (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Hurting Distance (Audio Cassette)
This book has left me chilled. I was captivated! I read the second half of the book alone last night and I wish I hadn't; my heart was racing. Although there are a few bits I'd like to discuss with someone to clear up; this has got to be the best thriller I've read this year and possibly one of my top ten books of the year.

I've not read `Little Face' therefore I have no preconceptions of this writer's style. If it's as good as this I'll wait until I have company thank you very much! I did partially struggle with the how Sophie Hannah had Naomi addressing Robert as `you' as this made the reading somewhat challenging. However, when the plot runs away from about Chapter 9, I was able to switch off from this.

We are introduced to quite a few characters over the space of the novel but the main one is Naomi Jenkins. Having suffered a traumatic experience (and I mean traumatic, it is quite horrific) three years ago, she hasn't really got over it in my opinion. Having never told anyone she decides to describe it in detail when her married lover, Robert Haworth goes missing. She figures that by saying Robert committed the crime in question against her the police will take her concerns seriously, as opposed to presenting herself as a jealous mistress.

I've not carried out any research into this book so I don't know how Sophie Hannah has been able to write with such clarity but my goodness it is disturbing and gripping. You will like Naomi one minute and despise her next; then there comes along her flat mate, the detective and other characters. Be prepared for one huge rollercoaster. Cancel your plans and turn on the fire; this is a read you need to be ready for.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written, scary, gripping..., 19 Feb. 2008
By 
Love Books "Jessie" (Durham, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I needed something to read on Eurostar and picked this one up as it promised to be a gripping read and oh my goodness it was! I was hooked immediately by the quality of Sophie Hannah's writing. Like Naomi's best friend, you know from the start that there's something very wrong in her relationship with her married lover Robert, there are little hints that her feelings for him are obsessive and that he's controlling her but only as the story unravels does the extent of this 'wrongness' become clear. I actually thought it would have worked as a study of an abusive relationship without the rape storyline the writing and characterisation were so good. There's a compelling aspect to the story that makes you keep reading although I guessed pretty quickly why Robert's wife Juliet was behaving as she did.
THe only reason I didn't give it five stars is that there were just too many coincidences and everything tidied itself up too neatly at the end. The story has stayed with me though and I agree with the reviewer who said that Hurting Distance has given the world a new, charismatic and thoroughly evil new baddie!
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