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3.5 out of 5 stars
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3.5 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 June 2013
I haven't come across this author before, but on the strength of this read, she's on my list of favourites.

This is a tale where every character has a different and totally plausible voice. I can't say I felt empathy toward any of them, but that was of little consequence in a story where the complexity of the plot takes the reader on a journey which is truly chilling. The fact that the action, in the main, takes place during the winter, when falling snow affects a number of scenes, adds an almost tangible chill to unfolding events, both figuratively and literally. The POV switches between the principals, but the craft of the tale is in the very slowly unfolding 'reveal'. It kept me guessing well into the plot, although some clues were dropped along the way. This is a story of obsession; it's almost a study in obsession as every character has idiosyncrasies which control or dominate their life in different ways.

This is an inventive and compelling page turner. Apart from the characters and plot, Lesley Thomson has a real skill in creating a palpable sense of threat and menace. This is a rare talent. It takes a lot to make me feel unsettled, but there were some really chilling scenes. Nothing gory, but tension just crept up and up and reading late at night could be disturbing. It really is that good. Enjoyed it and like any great read, was sorry when I'd finished and had to find something else to match the enjoyment.
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on 24 June 2013
I bought this because I am a detective's daughter myself, and it was inexpensive for kindle. I was drawn in straight away, and could not put it down. The narrative is written from several perspectives and initially took great concentration to know whose eyes you were seeing through. I read on, late into the night, then was scared going to bed through the dark house! One of the main characters sneaks into other people's houses, and remains undiscovered -really creepy! I was completely absorbed by the interwoven lives in the plot, and genuinely surprised as the murderer was revealed. It took me ages to warm to the characters - but that didn't matter, and I don't think the author intended us to anyway. I m about to search now for the other one she has written, can't wait.
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on 15 June 2013
I think she's done it again ... i read A Kind of Vanishing on a friends recommendation and really enjoyed it, so was very pleased to see this come out. Thompson writes a strong whodunnit, but her storylines and characters are so much deeper on many levels that the books need a second reading because first time around you will miss some of the detail and crafted prose as you get sucked in to the plot.
Like her first book, she moves around in time and uses the ability we all have to remember things as we would like them to be, rather than as they actually were, but this is not confusing, it adds to the layers.
Initially, I found it a little distracting that characters from the first novel cropped up in this one, I felt perhaps it was un-necessary - but since then it has occurred to me that in the first novel, two mothers 'lost' their daughters because of a crime and in this one, two children lost their parents or their childhoods because of one ... very interesting Lesley - yet again you have produced a crime novel that I am still thinking about a month after I read it ... well done!
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on 15 August 2013
Shame, I was looking forward to this book. But the writing style is not for me. As others have said in previous reviews, the characters are under-developed, and I cannot get to like or care about any of them. I am also confused by odd sentences being thrown in at inappropriate places and breaking the flow of the narrative. The descriptions read like a report rather than helping to build a picture for the reader - do we really need to know that Terry's chin was scented with Gilette series aftershave splash cool wave and his hair smelt of Boots anti dandruff shampoo for men? Good writing is about giving just enough away to trigger the reader's own imagination.....this sounds more like the author was paid for advertising already well known brand names.

Sorry, I don't like to give bad reviews, and on the few occasions I have, it is usually when I have just made the painful decision that enough is enough. Sadly, I have reached that point.
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on 26 July 2013
This book doesn't really work. It seems to go on for ever (just under 500 pages). It is almost impossible to follow, unless you set aside 48 hours to read it without a break. The author is trying to be far too clever. We move from decade to decade and character to character (often without having the faintest idea about which character we are reading). You need extreme dedication to get through to the end.

I think Lesley Thompson will write a good book one day, but this is not it.

Sorry.

Charles
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on 11 August 2013
I really struggled with this book and only bought it because it had been sitting on the best seller list for so long - a mistake. It's full of dreary scenery, dreary characters with problems, padded out with too much information about cleaning products, etc. (seriously), and lots of pointless information. I never did work out what was important about the A-Z but, as I skipped large chunks because it was so tedious I probably missed a crucial clue, but I'm sure it wouldn't have made the book any more interesting.

I used to live near Hammersmith Bridge and there was much more to the area than mud and traffic, not that you'd know from this book. The obsession with the tide line is disproportionate to the story, as is so much of the detail.

I nearly always finish books so I did persevere but that's about it.
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on 21 August 2013
Stella would be the hard faced, deluded, self important Nicola from Emmerdale. Jack would be Anthony Perkins reviving his Norman Bates character. Ivan would be smooth, handsome Nigel Havers morphing into David Walliams hamming it up as Miss Haversham halfway through. Sherri Hewson could play Isabel Ramsay to perfection and poor old Jack would be David Jason playing Jack Frost with a hint of the ever tenacious Colombo thrown in for good measure. The airhead of a mother who carts her son to her illicit assignations with her lover could be played by Helen Flanagan. Eddie Marsan would make a perfect Paul, the stalking pathetic ex.

What a load of rubbish! The murderer was obvious from about half way through but took so long to be 'revealed' that it was an insult to the reader's intelligence. There were so many red herrings that you could open a new Billingsgate and not one single character would you want to meet in a dark alley.

All of the characters (caricatures!) were mentally disturbed to the point where it became ridiculous. What grown man goes around talking about "my mummy"? Would you really want to spend any time with someone who is so odd that they can recognise what air freshener is being used not just by scent but by brand?

I did not like any of the characters and could feel no empathy for them. The plot was convoluted. The character development was all over the place. One minute Jack was stalking "hosts" and living in their houses, the next he's portrayed as perfectly normal.

I think it is this that threw the story all over the place. There was no consistency in behaviour by any of the characters and therefore it made the plot very hard to follow. The author didn't seem able to commit to who her characters were. The loose ends tied me up in knots and the typos and mistakes were really annoying and basic. In the acknowledgements the author thanks her editor - for what?

To sum up, the book was so full of waffle that it felt like walking through the River Thames mud at low tide.
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on 29 September 2013
With 2.5 stars given (I know rounded up to 3) I'm settling right in the middle with this one. After the first couple of chapters I was ready to give up but it got marginally better later on.

Good points:
It's a detective story which rattles along without getting bogged down in technical detail. At no point does it really sound like a police report!
Every loose end is tied up at the conclusion leaving nothing to the imagination - I guess that's a good point.
The story grabs the reader because, although the outcome is quickly obvious, you still want to find out the details - and there are some clever details. (Like the connection with the red engine.)

Bad points:
It's odd. Seriously odd. Weird doesn't come near it.
Every single character (more caricatures)clearly belongs in official accommodation - the kind with padded walls.
Characters change character between the start and the finish. Yup! Honestly, they do.
The narrative flips forward and backward in time with absolutely zero indication it's about to do so. Halfway through a bit of dialogue you realise it's making no sense then, finally, figure out that's because half the dialogue was between two different people ten years earlier!

Overall:
I'd kind of recommend it. I enjoyed the book in the end - for what it is rather than for what it's clearly not. There were times I felt certain the author might have written while under the influence of, err, something. It's certainly the feeling you get when you read it!
This book is enjoyable in the same way a TV soap is - the plot is predictable, the acting poor - but you just can't be bothered to change channel.
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on 12 July 2013
Based on the product description, this book sounded right up my street - a good mystery that was waiting to be resolved and characters I could not wait to find out more about. It was also purchased at a time before the critical reviews came along. But I really could not get into it and I would end up reading bits twice in an attempt to understand what was going on.

What is listed in the product description is about all I understood from the story. I could not give you any more information in the form of my own synopsis because I kept losing track of what was going on. In fact, I could not even tell you how it ended (not that I give major spoilers away, but I just felt lost throughout the story and it was a relief to finish). The writing style is a bit haphazard and it does not flow very well. I found the characters (with the possible exception of Stella) to be under-developed and I stopped understanding how they fitted into the mystery. I felt that I had only a small understanding of the actual mystery that Stella was trying to solve so that did not help with the other important elements to the story. I would end up reading about 5% each session and not look forward to the next time I would get to pick up my Kindle. That is unusual for me.

Overall, I just felt that this story could have been so much more and I came away feeling disappointed. If you love a good mystery, there are plenty of books on the market which will get your brain thinking without confusing you. I don't like giving low ratings to stories as I always try to find the positives, but on this occasion, I feel that I have little choice.
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on 25 August 2013
I found this book to be so boring that I abandoned it about half way through. The plot and characters were absolutely ridiculous and I had no empathy with them what so ever. Good fiction has to have characters and a plot which in the readers' minds are credibly - this was not good fiction. Stella goes to look at the scene of the murder which happened on a July day thirty odd years ago. Fair enough I hear you say but when did she elect to go and check it out? On a pitch black January night with snow falling and a torch on her key ring for light!!! Why? This is the type of nonsense which litters the book. The character Jack is another piece of nonsense, living for weeks on end undetected in peoples houses, becoming Stella's confidant and being the best cleaner she ever had as well as being totally insane!!!
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