NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Kind of Cruel by Sophie Hannah

3.0 out of 5 stars There's a huge difference between a memory and a story..., read: July 11, 2013

This was a very convoluted mystery that centered on solving two murder cases that had gone unsolved for years. It is part of a long series featuring Detectives Simon Waterhouse and Charolotte Zailer, and though it is probably good if you have read previous titles in order to know the history of these two characters, I had not and so was a bit confused by their relationship (they are married) and taken aback by their personalities. "Knowing" them better might have improved my reaction to the book.

Amber Hewerdine visits a hyponotherapist as a last resort because she can't sleep ever since her best friend Sharon died in an arson house fire and Amber and her husband Luke took in Sharon's two daughters. The police have never found the killer and Amber has not gotten over her death. During her visit to Ginny's therapy office, Amber meets Charlotte before she goes in to her session and during the hypnosis is told that she has said the words, Kind, Cruel, Kind of Cruel but has no idea where they come from. Amber feels that she has seen those words somewhere before but can't bring the memory to mind. Later that day, Amber is arrested for the murder of Kat Allen, a schoolteacher she has never met. All of this creates confusion and consternation as Amber tries to recall her past accurately and somehow she becomes involved in the investigation which is apparently tied to Sharon's murder as well.

The narrative shifts back and forth between Ginny's therapist notes and Amber's first person point of view. In addition, there is another line of storytelling that focuses on Charlie and Simon and the other detectives on the case so the reader is getting many different perspectives on the investigation and various relationships the characters have with each other. Frankly, I didn't like ANY of them. Amber was, to me, unlikeable and very annoying. Simon seems like a cold odd duck, and I found it hard to believe Charlie was so in love with him.

With all the shifts in point of view, and the SLOW SLOW SLOW revelations that brought the case to a close, I found the novel to be less than engrossing and quite confusing at times. The mysteries, and there are several going on at once, aren't that compelling and there was no suspense or thrill involved in the resolutions.

So, this was an OK read. Probably I would have enjoyed it more had I read previous books with the two main characters, but I don't feel strongly enough to go back and catch up. If you're a Sophie Hannah fan, and like the series, I have no doubt you will want to read this if only to hear Simon's conversation with Charlie toward the end of the book. It explains something profound about his nature.

ARC from LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

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