Monday, January 7, 2013

Book Review: The Other Woman's House

Fascinating. Gripping. Brilliant. These are all common words of choice for other people describing Sophie Hannah's The Other Woman's House. My suspicion is these people have read Hannah's previous works and somehow all of these books together combine to create something resembling those descriptors. I could be wrong but I'm grasping for a rationalization as my own experience cannot be described using those particular words.

The story started off well enough, with a catchy opening line: "I’m going to be killed because of a family called the Gilpatricks." This comes from Connie Bowskill who sees a woman lying in a pool of blood while viewing a virtual real estate tour. Then a few minutes later the body is gone and Connie is left to puzzle out if she hallucinated the body or if she really did see it.

Hannah's books are considered psychological thrillers, and this is an apt classification based on my reading of just this one. The trouble is, I didn't find much thrill and wasn't much interested in unraveling the convoluted psychological threads. In truth, I dosed off in three separate occasions while reading it. This is not, I have gathered, a common experience for her readers.

The main problem for me lied within the characters. There was Simon and Charlie, the now-married cops who are apparently the centerpieces of Hannah's works but were rendered shallow, annoying and almost absent here. There was Charlie's sister Olivia and Simon's co-worker Chris representing a pointless story line. There was, of course, the plot kick starters Connie and her husband Kit both of whom spun too far abstractly out of my emotional reach to care about as the story progressed. Then there was Connie's family, Kit's family, Simon's mother, Simon's other co-worker Sam, etc, etc.

I am good with novels having multiple characters; I am just not good with having poorly developed characters. I'm especially not good with poorly developed multiple characters ruining the promise of a good story. And this is what I feel happened here, abundantly. It's too bad, as I had hoped to have found a new book series into which I could heartily dive.

Read an excerpt.

No comments:

Post a Comment