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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 4 January 2013
A brutal murder never solved and a suspicious death never explained - both victims in a relationship with the same man. Just bad luck? That's a question his new wife would like to find an answer to...

Nicky is married to Greg, the widower of her best-friend, Grace, who was brutally murdered a few years earlier by persons unknown. Greg often has to work out of the country leaving Nicky to lead a somewhat isolated existence. She has fragile relationships with Greg's family, who disapprove of the marriage, and for the same reason she has become distanced from friendships that existed when Grace was alive.

While Greg is away on business, Nicky meets Adam, a young man with an obvious attraction for her. However, what starts as an innocent flirtation leads to something close to obsession, and secrets and lies are revealed. Nicky discovers that Greg's ex-girlfriend also died in suspicious circumstances and she starts to fear that she will be next. Greg asks Nicky to trust him but won't talk about the past. Adam asks Nicky to trust him but behaves erratically, displaying worryingly unstable behaviour (think Misery and Kathy Bates...) In the meantime, there are plenty of other people in both Adam and Greg's families who are working against Nicky and who seem to prefer that she doesn't find out the truth about Grace or Greg's previous girlfriend.

The twists and turns in the plot are predictable at times but the story moves with a fast pace and it is hard not to get caught up in Nicky's paranoia - she has some very good reasons for trusting nobody, especially when a couple of dodgy hitmen get involved! Everyone ends up a suspect at some point and when the truth unfolds, it turns out to be a complicated story of love, betrayal and revenge. I did wonder a couple of times if all the plot strands were too much but the characters are believable and compelling and it's certainly a page-turner to the end.
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on 8 July 2012
Ali Knight is a writer crackling with talent, reading this book is like embarking on an express train, there is not a spare word.
It is well word crafted, there is a complex plot which, on the whole, she pulls off, above all she has a talent for introducing swiftly, new characters who are well drawn and endearing so that the book constantly refreshes itself, papering over a very few cracks.
I like the style because it helps you enormously with the process of enjoying reading the book.
In phrases and paragraphs (particularly the ending of chapters) we see promise of a greater writer, not just in echoes of great crime writers of the past.
What she has found here in Nicky is a fast witty heroine who is capable of uniting the slick action girl with the intelligence of a character in Jane Austen (in fact I thought the book owed something to the gothic of Northanger Abbey). But it is modern and contemporary in feel for a thriller,her heroine more Lara Croft than Miss Marple.
I was relieved that there were fewer dead bodies than in her last book, as there were, less unpleasant character types and I liked that the heroine was more sure of herself. Moreover she is able to draw women as well as men, catching their foibles and their follies as well as their strengths, without diminishing them or rendering them unpleasant to be introduced to. A definite improvement.
This one is worth watching, and in the meanwhile her books are very, very readable.
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on 17 October 2012
Absolutely fantastic book. I've found it harder to enjoy books as I've got older as I have too much else on to engage with them properly unless they are very good. The "too much else on" has fallen by the wayside in the last few days because it is such a page turner. The cleverness and suspense is excellent but so is the characterisation and the story. Couldn't recommend it highly enough.
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Back in August of last year, I read and reviewed Ali Knight's debut novel Wink Murder. I was impressed by her writing then and having just read her second novel The First Cut, I'm still very impressed.

The First Cut is another very cleverly written psychological thriller. The lead characters are not the most likeable of people, they are flawed and damaged individuals who constantly make the wrong decisions, yet the story is compelling.
In the prologue, Nicky's best friend Grace is brutally murdered. Her throat is slit and her body is dumped in a lake. Nicky finds the body and the murderer is never found. Grace's murder shapes the rest of Nicky's life. The story then begins proper, five years later, and the reader discovers that Nicky is now married to Grace's widower Greg. Nicky writes for a newspaper, Greg works in film and is often away from home. Life seems pretty normal until the day that Nicky meets Adam on a flight home from Spain. This meeting turns her life upside down. What starts out as pretty harmless flirting with a sexy younger man soon turns into a nightmare for Nicky. What really happened to Grace? Does she really know the man that she is married to? Could Greg really be a murderer?

The First Cut is a roller-coaster of a read, full of suspense, red-herrings and an intricate if sometimes over complicated plot. At times I found the cast of characters a little confusing and this is certainly not a book that can be rushed. Despite being fairly short at just over 300 pages long, it took me quite a while to read this. It needs to be digested fully in order to follow the plot line completely.

Although this is definitely a thriller, it is also a relationship study and looks at how a marriage can work even when there are secrets being kept that could change everything. With themes of guilt and betrayal, this is much more than a murder story.

It is clear that Ali Knight's writing is going from strength to strength, she has mastered the art of creating characters that the reader does not have to particularly like, but will care about what happens to them.
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on 23 November 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed "Wink Murder" and was looking forward to reading this. The start was gripping and intriguing,and I was hooked. Then,fairly early on,we were suddenly plunged into Hitman/Psycho territory,and implausible chase/kidnap scenarios and I switched off completely,I'm afraid.I wanted the psychological build-up and character exploration of the other book,not silly contrived thrills and violence every other page. So disappointed. Was it written before "Wink Murder"?
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on 10 May 2016
Loved this book! Read over two days, very gripping from the start, ready to read the other books by this author asap!!!!
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on 10 May 2016
Great twists and turns in the plot really found it hard to put this book down - a great read
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on 28 June 2012
We start off with the murder of Grace and quickly flip to present day. Nicky and Greg (Grace's then husband) are now married and things are far from perfect. He is always away for work, they aren't talking and things are just strained. Along comes a chance encounter and she meets Adam, young, fun and very flirty. Soon the fun turns to danger and Nicky finds herself caught up in murder, lies, deceit and a secret that will change everything.

I was gripped after the first few pages and really drawn in until soon after she meets Adam. Then things change dramatically and I found myself having to re read parts incase I missed something as it didn't seem to make sense. I found myself thinking that a few times in parts where characters would say something and I had to go back incase I was missing the link. The confusion did take away from my enjoyment as I kept trying to work out the what and why in different parts (sorry for being sketchy but I don't do spoilers in my reviews).

Another thing I liked about this book is the chapter length is a handful of pages between each (like James Patterson does) which means you can race through it inbetween doing your daily chores. I did enjoy the book and the things I liked far outweighed those I didn't and all of the confusion was pretty An on the fence 3/5 for me.
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on 26 March 2015
Took a while to get into the story but enjoyed it when I did
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on 4 July 2012
I loved Wink Murder and was really looking forward to Ali Knight's next one. This did not disappoint at all - in fact, it's even better. I read it in two days - couldn't put it down ... my wife started getting genuinely upset with me. Great characters, page-turning plot, loads of tension. Just fantastic ... Can't wait for number three now!
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