My first read of Sophie Hannah and its a mix of feelings. The stories are convoluted, the characters even more so and I found that unless I concentrated I lost the plot and where it was going.
The story centres around Amber Hewerdine who seeks the help of a hypnotherapist to find a solution to her insomnia which is reaching disastrous levels. Just before entering the hypnotherapist's house she encounters a woman in the car park and the most important part of the story during the hypnosis has a memory of the words Kind, Cruel, Kind of Cruel. It later becomes an obsession to discover where she saw this written down and she does try to track the paper down.
Link the above to two murders - one directly linked to Amber - her best friend Sharon who as a result of her death bequeaths both her children to Amber and then there is Katherine Allen - rather incidental it seems and no direct link whatsoever to Amber who is also found brutally murdered.
Digressing at this moment, I want to mention that the police officers included in the investigation were nuts! I could not believe that such officers were involved in a serious investigation of murder. This was not a schoolboyish prank or some kind of vandalism but deliberate, planned out murders and their actions were ludicrous.
Whilst the story of Amber's life is revealed bit by bit under questioning as the prime suspect in both murders, we see glimpses of Amber's extended family via her husband Luke. There is Neil and the all suffering, saintly wife Jo, their two sons William and Barney, there is Hillary Jo's mother and the other mentally handicapped daughter Kirsty, there is Ritchie who is Jo's brother a lay about who does not work and then there is Quentin the father in law, helpless and literally does not lift a finger to help and Sabina a nanny who does everything other than nanny! A rather cramped household but who get on amicably enough. The family seems commonplace but oddities appear and that is when you get an inkling that the murderer is someone close to home and not someone outside in the big bad world. Though the victims were not linked to this family at all clues appear here and there and linking it together is part of the plot.
The depths to which the mind can plunge and the degrees of insanity that exist are shown very well in the story. You dont have to be stark raving mad to be stark raving mad actually.
Very nice reading for me.