Friday, March 11, 2011

Lasting Damages by Sophie Hannah

Book Cover of Lasting Damages by Sophie Hannah

Published by: Hodder & Stoughton


It’s 1.15 a.m. Connie Bowskill should be asleep. Instead, she’s logging on to a property website in search of a particular house: 11 Bentley Grove, Cambridge. She knows it’s for sale; she saw the estate agent’s board in the front garden less than six hours ago.

Soon Connie is clicking on the ‘Virtual Tour’ button, keen to see the inside of 11 Bentley Grove and put her mind at rest once and for all. She finds herself looking at a scene from a nightmare: in the living room there’s a woman lying face down in a huge pool of blood. In shock, Connie wakes her husband Kit. But when Kit sits down at the computer to take a look, he sees no dead body, only a pristine beige carpet in a perfectly ordinary room…


Let me say it: Lasting Damages has the most chilling prologue I have ever read in my short, reading-filled life! I cracked open the spine, ran my eyes over the font, took a deep whiff of the pages (I am crazy like that) and set about on a fast-paced adventure of reading.

I let out a whimper of terror as I, for lack of a better word, consumed the first page, then the prologue, the first chapter and, before I knew it, the whole book. ‘Frightening’, cannot even begin to describe the feeling that washes over you as you read Sophie Hannah’s opening chapter. Her scene-setting ties you to your seat, grabs you by the throat and waits for you to scream (in a good way). You are left with your breath caught in your throat wondering How? When? and Why?

Sophie Hannah sets up her characters in abstract (but realistic) situations that not only keep readers intrigued, but also causes them to question their motives, and broader human behaviour. ‘Psychological thriller’ is personified, or ‘Bookified’, in this tome involving one seriously traumatised lead character, Connie Bowskill.

Connie finds herself wracked with paranoia when, at 1.15 a.m. she trawls a property website in search of a house. She is looking for a specific one, and all she has is the house’s address on her GPS labelled “home”. When a picture of a dead woman pops up while Connie browses the virtual tour, she is forced to question her judgement. It’s been 6 months since the obsession with 11 Bentley Road started, on a trip to Cambridge. You, the reader, begin to ask what was she doing in Cambridge? Why this specific house? And why is this address programmed on Kit’s, her husband, GPS as ‘Home’?

The discovery leads Connie down a dark path that forces her to question those around her. Who is the murderer? Connie is dead-set that Kit has something to do with it. As the story unravels, readers are left guessing, just as the tension mounts and the characters suspect those around them. Connie is forced to realise that humans are mysterious creatures – each psychologically unique.

Sophie Hannah brings back Deputy Constable Simon Waterhouse and Detective Sergeant Charlie Zailer with an incredibly complicated relationship and stories of their own.

As Hannah’s enigmatic plot is weaved, readers are drawn into the fast-paced motion and the hunt for the killer, and why he or she did it. Readers begin to ask: Why is Connie so neurotic? Is it a setup? Is Connie the killer? Why is there something off with Kit?

I guess you will have to read Lasting Damages yourself to find out!

This is a book that will leave you guessing (and very weary of property websites!), and flipping pages like a greedy chocolate lover!

Favourite quote:

‘He stops, backs away from the locked door. He hears the same footsteps I hear – rushing, a stampede. They're here.’

About Sophie Hannah

Photograph of Sophie Hannah by Mark Mather

Sophie Hannah is the author of five internationally bestselling psychological thrillers – Little Face, Hurting Distance, The Point of Rescue, The Other Half Lives and A Room Swept White. Her novels are published in 20 countries, with more foreign rights deals under negotiation. The Other Half Lives was shortlisted for the 2010 Independent Booksellers’ Book of the Year Award. Little Face and Hurting Distance were both longlisted for the Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, and Little Face was longlisted for the IMPAC Award. The Point of Rescue is currently being made for television, and will appear on ITV1 in 2011.

Watch Sophie talking about her book, Lasting Damages, here
Read the beginning of Lasting Damages, here 
To see information Sophie’s upcoming title Kind of Cruel, here

- Review by Kelly Ansara

(Note of Thanks: Thank you to Elmarie Stodart and Anika Ebrahim from Jonathan Ball for sending Tarryn & I a copy of Lasting Damages to review.  Thank you to Wesley Thompson & Tarryn Talbot for taking an editors glance at the post - You Rock!)


The Book Whisperer said...

I absolutely loved this book too! Couldn't put it down. great review!

Anonymous said...

My girlfriend forced me to this on her kindle and i loved it. Best book i've read so far. I read the whole book in 2 days.

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