Nicki can’t answer any of the baffling questions detectives fire at her. And she can’t explain why she was so close to the crime scene – not without revealing the secret that could ruin her life. Because, although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent…
This is Sophie Hannah’s ninth novel featuring Culver Valley and chief protagonists Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer. It doesn’t feature them enough, IMHO, and instead features a dizzying array of characters and voices.
There’s Nicki, her husband and children, her friend who’s married to her brother, murdered Damon Blundy’s newspaper columns, Blundy’s wife, a politician and her husband, a novelist and his wife, a disgraced athlete and his mother, Simon Waterhouse, wife Charlie, Charlie’s sister Liv and cop Gibbs, plus the usual Culver Valley cops.
So, Blundy is murdered in an odd fashion. His wife reckons he never loved her and wants to know why, as well as who murdered him. Nicki has a secret that could ruin her life and gets herself inserted into the centre of the murder investigation. Her secret takes us off on a whole other trajectory, as does Blundy’s shoot-from-the-lip newspaper columns which target and fillet the characters of people who annoy him for some and no reason.
Waterhouse is tasked with finding the killer and Charlie is only involved on the periphery of the investigation, so there’s not a whole pile of interplay between them in terms of their odd relationship.
Overall, this is one I read through because I was so delighted with Sophie Hannah when I discovered her a few years ago. Previous novels have had more richness in their characters than this one, so don’t judge the author on this book alone.