Customer Reviews


88 Reviews
5 star:
 (29)
4 star:
 (21)
3 star:
 (17)
2 star:
 (6)
1 star:
 (15)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More enjoyably twisted and dysfunctional relationships in Hannah’s world
Sophie Hannah at her best is edgy, tricksy and utterly compelling; but some of her later books have fallen a bit flat. This isn’t as good as Hurting Distance or The Other Half Lives, but is much better than The Carrier or A Room Swept White. The set-up revolves around a woman with secrets, and an outspoken journalist who is killed in a weird way; and the story...
Published 13 months ago by Roman Clodia

versus
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars and I grow increasingly bored with a) the psychological plot convolutions and b) the ...
Oh DEAR! I have read all the books in this series, and I grow increasingly bored with a) the psychological plot convolutions and b) the tedious relationship between Waterhouse and Zailer. But what really finished me with this one was that the character who was supposed to be sinister, threatening, even possibly violent... was called King Edward. Supposedly he named...
Published 4 months ago by G. ARNOTT


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars and I grow increasingly bored with a) the psychological plot convolutions and b) the ..., 11 Jan. 2015
By 
G. ARNOTT "JemimaD" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Oh DEAR! I have read all the books in this series, and I grow increasingly bored with a) the psychological plot convolutions and b) the tedious relationship between Waterhouse and Zailer. But what really finished me with this one was that the character who was supposed to be sinister, threatening, even possibly violent... was called King Edward. Supposedly he named himself after Edward VII, that notorious rake - but from the first time I saw it I could only think of potatoes! So I couldn't take anything in the book seriously after that - in fact every time his name came up I went off into new fits of laughter. Can't believe that a writer of Hannah's calibre and experience could have made such a glaring mistake - the most "Telling Error" of all, one thinks.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars My response in the end was more like 'who cares, 17 Nov. 2014
If I had to pick a word to describe this book it would be 'tedious'. It seemed to just go on, and on, not quite knowing what to do, or where to go with all the characters that had been created. I haven't read any of Sophie Hannah's previous books, so wasn't aware that there was actually a 'Culver City' series featuring the partnership of Detectives Simon Waterhouse and his wife Charlie. I'm not sure this book has inspired me to read others from the series.
The book starts off with an advert from a website called 'Intimate Links' where someone is looking for a response from someone with a 'secret'. It swiftly moves on to the bizarre death of infamous journalist Damon Blundy, and we meet our main (extremely unlikeable) character, Nicki Clements. Nicki's carefully constructed life is based on an intricately woven web of lies, stretching back to early childhood. Her ex-best friend, Melissa, is now married to Nicki's brother Lee and we slowly realise that there is more to this triangulated relationship than meets the eye.
Nicki's non-entity of a husband, Adam, doesn't seem to have a clue about the woman he's married to, and although throughout the book, we hear how much she loves her family (husband and two children), we never see or hear evidence of a cosy family life.
Numerous (oh, so numerous!) characters are introduced who would have had motive to kill the vicious Damon Blundy, and the story quickly takes on a 'Whodunit' format. Unsurprisingly, Nicki takes centre stage as the Number One suspect.
Clearly the book did have some element that kept me reading, wanting to know about Nicki's past, and how her private life had inextricably tied itself to Damon Blundy and his ill fate. But sadly, even when the 'punchline' was delivered it wasn't the 'Ohmygosh' lightbulb moment one wants from a (semi-) suspense-filled prelude. My response in the end was more like 'who cares?' than the 'Wow!' that it should have been. Big, big disappointment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, 8 Sept. 2014
Very disappointing book. Ridiculously far fetched and complicated plot, completely unbelievable. Just about made it to the end but it was a struggle. I love a good psychological thriller, but this was really pretty bad.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sliding downhill fast, 17 Jan. 2015
i used to be a passionate fan of Sophie Hannah. "Little Face" was nothing short of brilliant, and the next 2/3 in the "Culver Valley" series were (almost) equally as good. If you're a lover of the "puzzle unravelled" type of mystery I'd recommend any of these.
However from there I'm afraid things have gone downhill fast.
Ponderous prose, weak characterisation and plodding tempo seem to have become the order of the day.
I'm afraid that this one is quite possibly the worst of the lot.
To call the plot contrived and convoluted would be the nicest thing I could say about it.
Compared with her earlier work I'm afraid this is starting to feel like "ok I suppose I'd better knock out another one". I'm reading dialogue I really don't care about from characters I used to love but who have become...... monotonous I'm afraid.

It's sad, but I think it's time for me to find a new, favourite new author.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More enjoyably twisted and dysfunctional relationships in Hannah’s world, 24 April 2014
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Sophie Hannah at her best is edgy, tricksy and utterly compelling; but some of her later books have fallen a bit flat. This isn’t as good as Hurting Distance or The Other Half Lives, but is much better than The Carrier or A Room Swept White. The set-up revolves around a woman with secrets, and an outspoken journalist who is killed in a weird way; and the story involves issues of identity, public and private personas, and online lives.

At heart, this is a book with a story told in a complicated way, rather than necessarily being a complex story in its own right. The efforts to withhold past events from us do begin to feel a little contrived and artificial, and the story veers quite a long way from realism in the police investigation – no-one, for example, seems to worry about the fact that the murderer got into the house without breaking in, and that a convoluted killing scenario involving lots of accessories seems to have taken place while the man’s wife was downstairs in the kitchen...

I like Hannah’s slightly twisted world and, especially, the bizarre set-up of Charlie and Simon, but they feel a little under-used here. By the end we’re left with the feeling that no-one has anything but a dysfunctional relationship in the Sophie Hannah universe.

So an entertaining escapist read – but perhaps one that doesn’t bear too much scrutiny in terms of believability.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the time required to read it., 22 Nov. 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
You have to like at least one character in a book, have an empathy with them, every single person in this book (including the detective couple) were awful and like many others I was bored to tears by the whole thing. It was a good idea and could have been so much more interesting, but clearly her publisher just wanted another book on the shelves. More time was perhaps needed to really explore the themes Sophie was delving into, she may have been brave to tackle this subject but she seemed to shy away from it in the end. I did struggle to the end only because Sophie Hannah is usually so much better than this, although lately the books, particularly this series, have become very dull. I will not be reading her again and I certainly am not interested in the Poirot reincarnation, leave well alone.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars worse thar the last book - unbelievable awful !, 7 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Have read all her books and thought the last one was a real "stinker" but everyone is allowed an "off day" can't believe that this book was as bad if not worse than the last ! Thinking back on her previous novels its hard to believe its the same author !
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Carrier-On, 18 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It should come as no surprise that this, the 9th book in the Spilling/Culver Valley CID series, sticks to a well-established formula. As always, the narrative revolves around a bizarre or seemingly impossible crime which is related through alternating first and third person chapters. As always, the first person narrator is an intelligent but slightly flaky woman in middle youth whose connection to the case comes to seem progressively less coincidental as the story progresses. As always, there's a secondary mystery which is only tangentially connected to the case. And, as always, there's a bit of background from the supporting characters and a few incursions into the mental landscape of the main investigating officers. Essentially, if you buy this, you'll be getting a Sophie Hannah novel; whether you enjoy it or not will depend on whether or not your the type of person who enjoys Sophie Hannah novels.

About two years ago, I read an interview with Hannah and was drawn to download her first book, Little Face. Immediately, I realised that this was an author I was going to enjoy. After that, I worked through all of the novels in uninterrupted chronological order. In all, the books have a lot to commend them. Hannah has a parallel career as a poet and this is made apparent through some strong descriptive writing. The narratives are never less than compelling and the author had a very clear understand of how to maintain a reader's interest by teasingly drip-feeding information before shifting to another perspective entirely.

Unfortunately, after the series peaked with the masterful The Other Half Lives, Hannah has been churning out more of the same. She's found a formula that works, and she's sticking to it. It shouldn't matter when the results are as good as The Telling Error, but eventually the law of diminishing returns will start to apply. Already, we're seeing evidence in the way she treats her characters. In the first books, DI Proust was a wonderfully rounded character, a truly nuanced office-bound supervising officer. By the later books, he's become an identikit horrible boss. In the same way, DC Waterhouse started out as compellingly damaged but brilliant. However, having set out the cause of his problems in Kind Of Cruel, Hannah's let him settle into being a slightly aloof chap with a Moby Dick fixation. The reasons why are unclear.

In spite of the negative comments above, I enjoyed the book. Sophie Hannah has undoubtedly mastered her craft, it's just a pity she seems content not to stretch herself anymore. Perhaps the mooted Poirot reimagining will give her a chance to reinvigorate her muse.

Etienne Hanratty, Don't Carp, Marley Tiffin
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars and as usual the atmosphere was good, but the central character, 1 Oct. 2014
Well I kept turning the pages till the end, and as usual the atmosphere was good, but the central character, Nicki, was unbelievably self-absorbed and no, I don't think her childhood either excused or explained it. At the end I didn't really care who the murderer was, and as usual the cast of police characters were simply irrelevant to the story. But as I said, I finished it, so there must be something in it. Trouble is, I can't figure out what that something is.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 27 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have read most of Sophie Hannah's books and really enjoyed and recommended them - however I really struggled to get though this book, it was slow, boring and there was no thrill at the end, it left me completely flat. Very poor.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 29 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews