If I had to pick a word to describe this book it would be ‘tedious’. It seemed to just go on, and on, not quite knowing what to do, or where to go with all the characters that had been created. I haven’t read any of Sophie Hannah’s previous books, so wasn’t aware that there was actually a ‘Culver City’ series featuring the partnership of Detectives Simon Waterhouse and his wife Charlie. I’m not sure this book has inspired me to read others from the series.
The book starts off with an advert from a website called ‘Intimate Links’ where someone is looking for a response from someone with a ‘secret’. It swiftly moves on to the bizarre death of infamous journalist Damon Blundy, and we meet our main (extremely unlikeable) character, Nicki Clements. Nicki’s carefully constructed life is based on an intricately woven web of lies, stretching back to early childhood. Her ex-best friend, Melissa, is now married to Nicki’s brother Lee and we slowly realise that there is more to this triangulated relationship than meets the eye.
Nicki’s non-entity of a husband, Adam, doesn’t seem to have a clue about the woman he’s married to, and although throughout the book, we hear how much she loves her family (husband and two children), we never see or hear evidence of a cosy family life.
Numerous (oh, so numerous!) characters are introduced who would have had motive to kill the vicious Damon Blundy, and the story quickly takes on a ‘Whodunit’ format. Unsurprisingly, Nicki takes centre stage as the Number One suspect.
Clearly the book did have some element that kept me reading, wanting to know about Nicki’s past, and how her private life had inextricably tied itself to Damon Blundy and his ill fate. But sadly, even when the ‘punchline’ was delivered it wasn’t the ‘Ohmygosh’ lightbulb moment one wants from a (semi-) suspense-filled prelude. My response in the end was more like ‘who cares?’ than the ‘Wow!’ that it should have been. Big, big disappointment.