Looking back through old posts I don’t think that I’ve said anything about Sophie Hannah, which is a massive oversight because I think she’s amazing. I’ve been feeling really sucky with a virus recently, so I decided to read Hurting Distance last night as I always enjoy her books. Chilling, compelling and genius once again… though I have to admit that I’m a bit embarrassed because I bought it for my boyfriend’s mother for her birthday before I read it. I knew it would be amazing, I just didn’t realise there would be a rape scene. You live you learn.
I started reading Sophie Hannah’s novels with The Point of Rescue so I’ve gotten the Zailer/Waterhouse narrative a little muddled, but even on the rare occasions that I’ve been able to predict elements of what is going to happen from information I’ve gleaned by reading the books in the wrong order, I’m still totally blown away by some plot twist and the final reveal. Her books are messed up. And I mean that as the highest compliment. Zailer and Waterhouse, brilliant but deeply flawed detectives who need each other more than they are willing to admit, are fantastic characters who give the books a narrative unity throughout the series. The crime stories are deliciously twisted, if you like thrillers then you have to read them.
Having discovered Hannah’s novels, I moved on to her short stories which are some of the best I’ve ever read. I read The Octopus Nest (from The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets) with my A-level students when I was still teaching and it was brilliant hearing the gasps. I really believe it takes more skill to write a good short story than it does to write a good novel, and Sophie Hannah is a modern master of the genre.
Anyway, that’s enough fangirling from me. I’ll be off to buy The Carrier tomorrow.