Wednesday 22 July 2015

A Game for all the Family - Sophie Hannah

Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better...

After fleeing London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine Merrison plans to spend her days doing as little as possible. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to seem strangely withdrawn. Checking Ellen's homework one day, Justine finds herself reading a chillingly articulate story about a series of sinister murders committed at the family's new house. Can Ellen really have made all this up, as she claims? Why would she invent something so grotesque, set it in her own home and name one of the characters after herself? When Justine discovers that Ellen has probably also invented her best friend at school, who appears not to be known to any of the teachers, Justine's alarm turns to panic.

Then the anonymous phone calls start: a stranger, making accusations and threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past - yet Justine doesn't recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves - two big ones and a smaller one for a child - Justine fears for her family's safety. If the police can't help, she'll have to confront the danger herself, but first she must work out who she's supposed to be..

What did I think?

I was a bit disappointed with this one.  I have had Sophie Hannah on my radar for a while and this was the first book of hers that I have read.  The idea was good but I didn't like any of the characters.  Justine just seemed to charge about everywhere swearing her head off; her husband, Alex, travelled a lot as an opera singer and to be honest I didn't notice whether he was there or not most of the time; and her daughter, Ellen, was a bit of a silly sulky teenager.

I struggled with the chapter numbers of the story that Ellen was writing being out of sync with the chapters in the book - I'm odd like that!  I did quite like the story that Ellen was writing about the family called the Ingreys - they were much more interesting than the Merrisons.  Ellen's story was quite dark at times and gave a Victorian gothic type feel to the book.

The book did get more gripping towards the end as the mysterious Anne Donbavand appears and we approach the final showdown - although I was expecting someone a bit more scary than crazy.

Although I wouldn't particularly recommend this book, I will still look out for some other Sophie Hannah books.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My rating:

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