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on 1 June 2018
The genius of Sophie Hannah lies partly in her creation of complex, often deeply disturbed and flawed, characters, who nonetheless follow a compelling logic to its often tragic end. I also love all the intricacies of her plots, her wonderful use of language, and I enjoy meeting again the police officers, who provide continuity and often humour. Proust has a gift for saying just what people don't want to hear and he is a familiar monster of the workplace. I have only two of the series left to read now and I honestly wish I could slow down; however, these are books to prop up when I am in the bath and cry out to me when I wake up in the middle of the night, feeling smug about the private pleasure of reading these excellent novels.
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on 23 January 2015
Having read all of this authors previous books on this series I thought that I knew what to expect. I didn't expect to be bored to distraction.
Unlike many other reviewers I have always rather liked the mad dysfunctional Cuver Valley police force. While in no way believable they are very readable. the trouble was I couldn't quite work out what they were doing wasting much time investigating such a non crime.
The remaiing cast of characters whilst no more believable than the coppers were appallingly unlikeable. No redeeming features whatsoever.
Tim was a sap. Lauren a rather insulting stereotype. Dan and Kerry cardboard cut outs. Gaby was just horrible.
If Francine was so vile why did Tim marry her?
Why did such a spineless sappy person as Tim inspire such devotion in his friends. He would inspire me to give him a good slap.
Why does Sophie Hannah persist on giving her characters such peculiar and complicated names? It feels like some kind of private joke.
What was the point of all the poetry? Is she trying to prove that she is more clever than her readers?
To be honest the whole novel makes me feel that she is just looking down on her readers and poking fun at them.
I would love answers to these questions. It might help me to understand why I wasted so much time on such a heap of junk . As it is if I could award minus stars I would.
Sohie Hannah, after many years of enjoyable reading, I think our relationship is over
2 people found this helpful
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on 17 September 2014
I had read "Little Face" and "Point of Rescue" both of which I enjoyed - but this is disappointing - Tim is so weird that it is hard to imagine anyone wanting to love him, certainly not to the extent that Gaby does - she appears to be a high-flier with intelligence and personality whereas he is just weird...I did start the book three times and gave up, but left with nothing to read one hot Sunday I persevered - the ending is very disappointing indeed - as is the explanation for Tim's silly dream-
Obviously these books are a series, I haven't read them in sequence, I haven't read the one where Charlie gets married, perhaps it should be made plainer on the covers where each title lies in the chronology? I haven't give up on Sophie yet - but another written in this style may change my mind!
4 people found this helpful
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on 21 October 2013
As in most of Sophie Hannah's books, characters don't really behave as the might in real life. But it's a story and not meant to be real life, so putting that aside it is a 'good read'. I like the humour, especially in Charlie, who could be my best friend! One or two of the characters are a little annoying though, I'm not sure if they're meant to be. But the plot keeps you guessing almost to the end, I wanted to keep reading, and get there as soon as possible. I definitely would recommend it but think the earlier books need to be read first, otherwise, with no understanding of Charlie and Simon's relationship, the dynamics in the story could be a little confusing.
7 people found this helpful
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on 30 July 2015
Unfortunately after having a keen interest in the work of Hannah and particularly the Culver Valley Series, that has tired out with the storylines losing convincability. There are a lot of elements to the later books in particular where you feel that an outline was made for the story but it got distracted as the author was in a rush to complete the book so just added inplausable round ups. Simon as a character has tired me out completely, any hope of development of the character is now lost to extent he is infuriating. The ongoing, dead horse of the supporting characters is repetitive and too much of the books are based on circumstancial coincidences or observations.
One person found this helpful
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on 21 August 2015
Found this heavy going though have enjoyed her first six books. I found the letters device somewhat clumsy and far-fetched. Characters not very interesting. I will plough on with 7 (which I seem to have missed) and 9, however. I think 3 stars might be a bit generous. To think she wrote The Monogram Murders in the style of Agatha Christie which I really enjoyed!
One person found this helpful
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on 19 October 2013
Having previously enjoyed kind of cruel by the same author I was looking forward to this book, however I found it incredibly difficult reading.
There was so much unnecessary highly intelligent language that I found it difficult to remember the plotline most of the time. (Maybe I should point out that I have an msc?)
Unless you have an interest in poetry and a fantastic grasp of literature this book will not be light reading which is a shame because underneath all it's bluster there is a good story.
Despite not enjoying and at times struggling with the way this book is written I felt the subject at its core was interesting and worthwhile.
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on 14 October 2016
There is little that annoys me more than characters who are hyper-aware of their own intelligence and go on and on about their own genius (even just as part of the first person narrative rather than out loud as dialogue) and the protagonist of this novel is exactly that kind of character. I found her totally unlikable. This may just be my personal preference, but if you are also annoyed by these kinds of characters I would avoid this book.

Other than that there was nothing horribly wrong with the writing, but the reveal of what really happened left me feeling pretty underwhelmed. The line on the cover, "He swore he was a killer, the truth was worse" really intrigued me and had me expecting a really dark twist, but it was a bit disappointing really.
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on 22 May 2015
You know when you get your Christmas tree lights down from the loft and they're in a ball, and you think they'll be hard to unravel? Trust me. It's harder to unravel one of Sophie Hannah's plots. Terrible storyline, just not thought through at all, and very boring detectives, whose lives are completely unrealistic.
One person found this helpful
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on 31 January 2015
Probably one of the slowest and dullest books I have ever read. Why I persevered with it to the end I'll never know, so I only have myself to blame. Boring limp characters; absurd storyline. Nothing to like about this book. If you are thinking of buying it. Think twice.
One person found this helpful
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