Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Woman with a Secret

Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah
HarperCollins: 8/4/15
hardcover, 384 pages
ISBN-13: 9780062388261

Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah is a highly recommended police procedural.

In this latest case featuring British police officers DC Simon Waterhouse and his wife, DS Charlie Zailer, there has been a murder of a well-known columnist on Elmhirst Road in Spilling. Damon Blundy may have been well known, but he was also controversial and combative. He was killed in a way that seemed to be sending a symbolic message, but what could the message mean? And then there are the actual words painted on the wall saying, "He is no less dead." The list of enemies should be extensive, but the investigation takes notice of one car, being driven by Nicki Clements, a woman in her early forties who makes a U-turn to avoid where the police are stopping every car up ahead.

Nicki, who is trying to run an errand to her children's school, sees a cop she wants to avoid seeing again at all costs. The big question is why? What secret is Nicki trying to hide? Because Nicki's erratic behavior is captured on CCTV she is called in for questioning. Clearly, when Nicki is answering questions, she is also trying to cover up something. She has a secret, but does it have anything to do with Blundy's murder?

As part of Nicki's secrets and lies are clear to the reader, the question is how or if they are related to the case. We do know Nicki has been going online and is conducting an affair, at this point just through email, with "Gavin" after previously having another affair with someone she met online.

Parts of this story are told through Nicki, her email correspondence with Gavin, the police investigation, and Blundy's columns. It opens with a personal ad placed on a dating site that invites speculation, but is also deceptive. And that deception, the lies and secrets, are what makes up a great deal of this novel and keeps you guessing what is real and what isn't.

Hannah does an excellent job capturing the present world where we are all online, social media abounds, CCTV surveillance is common, and there are plenty of columnists that revel in being nasty and/or combative as they name names and throw accusations. It seems that everyone is striving to be more connected. She does an excellent job depicting this world where we are either trying to stand out more and set ourselves apart from the pack or we are conducting a secret life online.

The real treat to this well written novel is Simon and Charlie. Their complex relationship, interaction, and thought processes as they work together are what kept me reading.

Nicki is an unreliable narrator as well as an unlikeable character. In fact there are many unlikeable characters in this novel. So many nasty people, with the exception of Simon and Charlie, could leave you with no one to cheer for or at least hope it works out for them. On the up side, though, it also provides plenty of suspects and clues to follow in order to figure out who done it and why.

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from the publisher and TLC for review purposes. 



1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Having unlikable people definitely gives plenty of suspects that you don't feel bad for suspecting! I'm glad to know there are two redeeming characters as well since I always have to have someone to like.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!