Tag Archives: Lasting Damage

Novel Insights’ March Review

March has been a funny mix of reads on Novel Insights! I started the month with a crime-wave of sorts, but also randomly read some spooky short stories, a social commentary on Egypt and a Chilean novel. Here’s the summary, favourites first:

Lasting Damage, by Sophie Hannah

4.5 stars4.5/5

“…delivered a typically twisted finale.”

Lasting Damage

 

 

 

 

The Tooth, by Shirley Jackson

4 stars 4/5

“…a brilliant bite-sized selection of unsettling moments and everyday horrors.”

Pengin Mini Modern Classics, The Tooth, Shirley Jackson

 

 

 

The Yacoubian Building, by Alaa Al Aswany

4 stars4/5

“…vibrant characters and an engaging narrative.”

The Yacoubian Building

A Room Swept White, by Sophie Hannah

3.5 stars3.5/5

“…a couple of little frustrations for me… overall a cracking page-turner…”

A Room Swept White, by Sophie Hannah

 

 

 

 

The Private Life of Trees, by Alejandro Zambra

3.5 stars3.5/5

…playfully written…”

Private Life of Trees, by Alejandro Zambra

 

 

 

 

What were your favourite reads in March?

Lasting Damage, by Sophie Hannah

4.5 stars4.5/5

After reading A Room Swept White I moved straight on to Lasting Damage – Sophie Hannah’s latest novel.

Lasting Damage

Hodder & Stoughton, 2011 edition (hardback), 448 pages - own purchase.

A Room Swept White was gripping but flawed. I really enjoyed it but it’s worth mentioning that my boyfriend thought that it was (in his words) “quite bad” on a few counts. He disliked the characters intensely and, as I did felt that the ending wasn’t as twisty as with her other books. We both have quite high expectations of Hannah’s crime novels after I inducted him by practically forcing him to read the brilliant Little Face after totally loving it, so that probably doesn’t help. Arguably he’s a bit less forgiving than me! Lasting Damage though, is Sophie Hannah back on top form.

The blurb on the back told me that the mystery begins when a woman named Connie Bowskill logs on to a property website and looks at a virtual tour of a house in Cambridge. She’s confronted with a bloody mess – a woman, lying down in a pool of blood in the middle of the living room, yet when she goes to get her husband to see it, the tour has gone back to normal and the living room is neat, tidy and bloodless as you would expect.

From the first line, I was hooked:

“I’m going to be killed because of a family called the Gilpatricks.”

This, and the (real or imagined?) murder had my brain firing off questions all over the place, and the best thing was that unlike A Room Swept White, Hannah kept me hanging right until the end. Also, in the previous novel, the ending was a bit forced. Lasting Damage had a simpler but more surprising twist.

I am getting a little bored of the neuroses of Charlie Zailer and Simon Waterhouse – who, if you haven’t read any of Hannah’s novels are part of an ongoing plotline. I just kind of want to yell – “sort it out!” I do however, like the fact that Hannah is giving other characters on the police more time. A small part of the reason why I think I enjoy Hannah’s books so much is because of their setting and the funny little observations of people’s ‘Englishness’. I do sometimes wonder if this would translate to readers from overseas, but I suppose that you could say the same about American novels or Scandinavian crime fiction.

I would definitely recommend Sophie Hannah’s novels if you fancy a bit of crime fiction and need a change from being glued to CSI, NCIS or any of those other programs with acronyms for names! Start with Little Face if you haven’t read any before. If you have then I would definitely say that Lasting Damage is one to look forward to. I stayed up way too late finishing it as Hannah drip fed me clues, and delivered a typically twisted finale. Excellent stuff!

Serendipitous Book-Buying

Yesterday I was made a delightful last-minute diversion to see Savidge Reads after discovering that my trip up North for work would mean I was within spitting distance of Manchester. I was sad to have been unable to make it in time to go to John Rylands library – see how fabulous it looks:

John Rylands Library

Oh dear, I’ll suppose I’ll just have to go back and visit again!

Of course a trip to a book shop was in order, so we popped into Waterstones for a drink in the café.

Simon persuaded me that I should get the new Sophie Hannah book – Lasting Damage.  I’m a bit off a  devotee, having started out reading her short stories and going on to read every one of the Waterhouse & Zailer series. It was with very little difficulty that he overcame my grumbling about not having read A Room Swept White first by pointing out that the new hardback cost less than a paperback.

I was thoroughly impressed by the Penguin Mini-Moderns, and Shirley Jackson’s writing was recommended to me after my glowing review of Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s short stories, so I also invested a modest £3 in the The Tooth.

And… what should happen today? I fell into my local second hand book shop and lo and behold a nearly-new copy of A Room Swept White was for sale for £2.50.

Have you made any serendipitous book purchases recently?