The Other Half Lives is Sophie Hannah’s fourth psychological thriller featuring DS Charlie Zailer & DC Simon Waterhouse. I’ve read every book in this series since the first one came out and have eagerly awaited each new arrival so when I spotted The Other Half Lives in Tesco at a bargain price I had to snap it up. Here’s the blurb:
Ruth Bussey knows what it means to be in the wrong and to be wronged. She once did something she regrets, and her punishment nearly destroyed her. Now Ruth is rebuilding her life, and has found a love she doesn’t believe she deserves: Aidan Seed. Aidan is also troubled by a past he can’t bear to talk about, until one day he decides he must confide in Ruth. He tells her that years ago he killed someone: a woman called Mary Trelease.
Ruth is confused. She’s certain she’s heard the name Mary Trelease before, and when she realises why it sounds familiar, her fear and confusion deepen – because the Mary Trelease that Ruth knows is very much alive…
For anyone who hasn’t read any Sophie Hannah thrillers, her hallmarks are dark plots and surprising twists. I have never once managed to figure out what was going to happen in either Little Face, The Point of Rescueor Hurting Distance and it was just the same with The Other Half Lives. What I like about this series is that despite revealing the darkest sides of human nature they are all set in the delightfully mundane setting of a small English town which makes them feel just a little bit too close to home!
Having read all four books I would say that along with the first one Little Face, this would be my other favourite. It’s quite chunky (over 500 pages) by comparison to the rest but it’s a real page-turner so doesn’t feel lengthy. The plot was original and a bit of a departure from some of the others – quite complex really, it had me wondering where on earth she gets her ideas from! Just like with the other books this is split between a third person narrative and also a sort of internal monologue of the main (very confused) female character in the novel which gives you a unique perspective on events as they unfold. I’m not going to go into any more detail because I don’t want to give anything away.
If I have one criticism it’s that I don’t find the police characters particularly likeable and I think if you were start reading a book in the wrong order you might be a little confused as there is an ongoing storyline. However I don’t think it detracts from the main story at all – it certainly doesn’t stop me. Each book can definitely be read on its own but I would advise anyone who wants to read Hannah to start by reading Little Face which is just brilliant.
The Other Half Lives is going cheap here on Amazon right now or maybe you can track one down in your local Tesco’s too! If you fancy reading more reviews of Sophie Hannah I did one for Hurting Distance.
I’ve just realised that it sounds like I’m being paid to rave on about these novels, but I promise I’m not! I just stumbled on her after reading The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets (a collection of short stories) and was hooked since then as they are well written and make a nice change to the classic American cop thriller.
Has anyone else read any books by Sophie Hannah (thrillers, short stories, poetry)? What did you think? Who are your favourite suspense / thriller writers?