Sunday 30 March 2014

Book Review (ARC): The Telling Error; Sophie Hannah

Wow, finally I am through this book! I have no real idea why it took me so long, it wasn't an overly long read. And yet for some reason it just took me ages. It was a Goodreads 'First Reads' win, and there are no challenges that I'm entering this one for so here goes.

SOURCE: Goodreads Giveaway
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Telling Error
AUTHOR: Sophie Hannah
SERIES: Spilling CID (#9)
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
PAGES: 363
GENRE: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

RATING: 2/5 Stars

Stuck in a traffic jam, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again. It's definitely him, the same police  officer, stopping each car on Elmhirst Road. Keen to avoid him, Nicki does a U-Turn and makes a panicky escape.

Or so she thinks. The next day, Nicki is pulled in for questioning in connection with the murder of Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road.

Nicki can't answer any of the questions detectives fire at her. She has no idea why the killer used a knife in a way that involved no spilling of blood, or why 'HE IS NO LESS DEAD' was painted across Blundy's study. And she can't explain why she avoided Elmhirst Road that day without revealing the secret that could ruin her life.

Because although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent...

What I Liked:
  • Sophie Hannah knows this genre very well. 'The Telling Error' is a thrilling murder mystery, with plenty of suspects, plot twists galore and it grips you from beginning to end. I have always been a bit of a fan of Whodunits, and I felt that same excitement at the prospect of solving the murder before the police did that I expected to feel.
  • The use of social media within the story. I really liked reading the Tweets, Email conversations and various articles that were thrown into this book at random intervals. In particular, Damon Blundy's columns were not only insightful and fun to read, but absolutely hilarious. I don't often laugh out loud at books, but his brash sense of humour as a character (albeit a dead one) just had me laughing so much!
What I Disliked:
  • I did not like the characters. At all. In particular, Nicki Clements (who is meant to be our sympathetic heroine who is wrongly caught up in this mess) was possibly one of the most frustrating characters that I've read about in a long time. Seriously, I found her whiney, annoying and rude, not to mention her brash and stupid decisions were enough to make anyone want to tear their hair out. Part of me wanted her to go down despite being innocent! The Detective also annoyed me, and I wish Hanna had made him a little more likeable, rather than an impatient and arrogant grump who expects everything and gives nothing back. The rest of the characters I suppose were not really written to be liked, but still, it would have been nice to enjoy reading about someone!
  • A lot of loose ends were not tied up. Those relating to the murder were, yes. But Hannah introduced sub-plots into the story, which she then left hanging. What about Gibbs and Sellers, and their blatant lie about breaking up? What actually happened to Nicki after the whole incident? And what about Nicki's sister-in-law's shocking discoveries about Nicki's past? All of these things were just left as if Hannah had completely forgotten she'd even written them in! Now this book, as it turns out, is part of an ongoing series so there could be some argument for an overhanging plot. But I severely doubt that her other books would revisit Nicki's story again, so I guess we'll never know.
  • The murderer. In the end, when all was revealed, I just felt a bit disappointed. It would have been near impossible for me to guess the identity of the murderer I think anyway (which I always love to try and do), but secondly, the motive wasn't completely explained. Also, the murderer was completely and totally barmy suddenly and it all felt like a bit of a forced change. Maybe it was me not being very observant, but that's the way I felt.
  • The book wasn't broken up very well. I kept having to stop for various reasons but found myself having to do so mid-chapter. This really is a minor niggle and is probably more to do with my own personal preferences. Nevertheless it is something that I disliked.
Overall Conclusion:
Sophie Hannah does have exceptional writing talent. The words flow easily on the page and I was hooked on the fast-paced story itself. But I didn't love this book by a long stretch. I felt constantly frustrated at the main 'heroine', and disappointed with the Murderer's identity and motive. As well as this, the lack of tying up all loose ends left me with more questions than answers. Therefore, although I liked it, I can't really say I felt much more than that.

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