Sunday, 22 August 2010

Little Face - Sophie Hannah

The first time she goes out after their daughter is born, Alice leaves the two-week-old infant at home with her husband, David. When she returns two hours later, she insists that the baby in the crib is not her child. Despite her apparent distress, David is adamant that she is wrong.

The police are called to the scene. Detective Constable Simon Waterhouse is sympathetic, but he doubts Alice's story. His superior, Sergeant Charlie Zailer, thinks Alice must be suffering from some sort of delusion brought on by postpartum depression. With an increasingly hostile and menacing David swearing she must either be mad or lying, how can Alice make the police believe her before it's too late?

This is the second book I've read by Sophie Hannah and already I'm beginning to feel that her novels have a formula. Her main characters are insecure, damaged women in dodgy relationships who get themselves into terrible situations where men abuse them. 2D police officers, who also have damaged pasts and are, of course, romantically involved with each other and have anger problems, investigate the case. At the last minute, the woman solves the mystery only to confront the killer in a dangerous situation that almost costs her her life. But it all works out in the end, so that's fine. Seriously, I'm fairly certain that this book and The Point of Rescue have the same formula. I didn't mind the main character in that book but two of the same woman just annoyed me. I didn't sympathise with her because, well, why was she in this situation in the first place? Why had she married this man that she didn't really know and couldn't trust? And I really hated the scenes where Alice was mistreated by her husband - there are similar scenes in the other book and they're incredibly difficult to read. Why do all crime novels have to involve women being abused? To make it worse, David's actions were never explained. The mystery was good, although the ending was a bit strange, how Alice was suddenly an unreliable narrator. I did enjoy reading this, but the cliches annoyed me and it made me uncomfortable in places. I might read another Sophie Hannah novel as they are very compelling, but probably just from the library. 7/10

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