Publication Date: Available Now from Hodder and Staughton
Source: Review Copy
Pushed to the breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl.
A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.
Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?
So I’m going to be taking one book out of my well loved previous or recent/early advanced reads that I have loved and recommending it each week – these novels will always be available now and may be old, new or somewhere in between the two.
This week I’m going with “Did You See Melody?” the latest twisted thriller from Sophie Hannah – I read this a few months ago but it is now out there in the world and if you are a fan of the hard to see resolutions and the twisted path to the truth of the matter then you could pick up almost any Sophie Hannah novel to be fair, but Did You See Melody was definitely, for me, one of the most addictive.
This story follows Cara, who has (rather childishly I felt but that somehow made it all the more compelling that she ended up stuck in an enigma wrapped up in a mystery) run away from home. Wanting peace and quiet and time to think, she ends up at a relaxing resort. A mix up on the first night finds her in the wrong hotel room and seeing people who don’t want to be seen – but was the girl she saw REALLY the supposedly murdered Melody Capa or just someone who has a remarkable resemblance to said girl. Should Cara say what she has seen? Oh what to do…
As usual Sophie Hannah peppers her cast with a diverse range of characters, often hard to like ones, then mixes them all up, making everyone seem suspicious at one point or another, draws out the background to tell you everything you need to know but then blindsides you with something you didn’t think about. It is clever writing, I mostly love how I spend the entire time trying to second guess the author, who never ever makes things easy for me.
Added to that of course is the sheer vitality of it – once started pretty much not put down – I devoured this one in two quickfire, immersive sittings, predicting some things and absolutely not predicting others. As usual Ms Hannah explores some dark themes but makes it just as entertaining as it is thought provoking and makes it almost impossible to second guess. Obviously occasionally you need a slight suspension of disbelief during but then when it all comes together in her Christie-esque way, you go AH THAT is what that was all about – and give a nod to the genius thinking.
With the poetic prose and intrepid plot construction that is her trademark, Sophie Hannah gives us yet another twist fueled, character driven, intensely intriguing psychological thriller and I will continue reading them as long as she continues writing them. Bring on the next challenge, I anticipate it eagerly.
Recommended for: Fans of psychological thrillers with twists you are actually unlikely to see coming.