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Complicit - Nicci French

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2 Reviews

Genre: Crime / Thriller / Author: Nicci French / Perfect Paperback / 375 Pages / Book is published 2009-11 by Penguin Books Ltd (UK)

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      10.06.2012 10:39
      Very helpful



      Who killed the music?

      ==Synopsis of the book:==

      Bonnie Graham is a music teacher who has been looking forward to the summer holidays. This year she has decided to stay at home and decorate her London Flat. When she is asked by her friend Danielle to get a band together to perform at the occasion. Despite the short notice Bonnie is confident she can pull a team of musicians together and starts recruiting and trying to organise the rehearsal location and times. Which will be difficult especially as one of the band is already in another band, one is an ex pupil, while another is her ex.

      However within a few weeks she is standing dazed and confused in her friends flat with a dead man at her feet. What does she do now? And what has happened here? In her growing panic she calls her best friend the ever practical Sonia. She asks her to meet her urgently and together they come up with a plan of dealing with the body. And while Sonia has grave concerns about being roped into this criminal act and agrees to ask Bonnie no questions and wait till she is willing to share what has happened with her. What has Bonnie done?

      Now she must deal with the consequences of her actions. But what is the truth and who is going to tell it?

      ==My thoughts on the book:==

      I thought this was an excellent phychological thrillers. It was well written and full of suspense and mystery. It certainly had me totally engrossed in it and I never knew the correct answers to it until it was revealed. And the answers made total sense yet we still at the very end had time for one last clever twist that really got me thinking. I really think this authors books just get better and better and I still don't see how my boss can call these girly books!!

      Nicci French for me is an amazing author or should I say authors. This is because Nicci French is in fact husband and wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French. This concept always impresses me as I look for the change in style or tone to depict the change in writer usually unsuccessfully. However in this story it is easier to spot or so I think as the story is written before and after Bonnie discovers the dead body on the floor at her friends flat and the obvious assumption is one wrote the before and the other the after.

      The writers Nicci French have already written 13 best selling thrillers. And only a few months ago one of these ' Losing You' was in my opinion very successfully transferred from book to television. I have read probably eight of these and the real joy for me in all these stories is they are so cleverly written and really make you think and question why things are happening and what is the solution to them. The novel I am reviewing her is their most recent novels and was first published in 2010.

      Having read so many books from these authors I have a good idea in theory about what to expect. But they always impress me with the angles they use, the clever characters within their stories and the intelligent twists that occur within it. However in this story they undertook what I thought was an ambitious idea writing 'before' and 'after' the crime had been committed. But for me this really worked well and by signposting in a different font you could always tell which theme you where in, plus when it changed they always advised simply with the words before and after so you could not get confused.

      I found this novel and one of my town's charity shops and I was really impressed because it is much a modern book. The only problem was the only one they had was in hardback format which made it more expensive, but at only three pounds I knew I couldn't go far wrong. Although I was still a little concerned as even your favourite authors sometimes have an off day and produce a piece of work that does not live up to your expectations and I really hoped this would not happen this time as it did recently when I read a Robert Goddard story.

      The first thing that intrigued me was the books title. It sounded very interesting and I was immediately drawn to it to for out exactly what the author had in mind with it. Although at the same time I was disappointed by the picture on the cover as I really could not work out what it was supposed to be. I thought it was a broken mirror but I think in retrospect I was wrong!! So I flipped the book over and on the back cover where a string of compliments about this story and I was impressed by this on two fronts, one it was about this particular story and secondly they where from all papers and magazine I recognised, not obscure ones that are often used to compliment an authors work.

      The summary of the story on the inside cover was however a little disappointing. Although in hindsight it was very difficult to do a decent one because the story was almost telling two stories simultaneously one before the accident and one after it. So I think it was difficult to do without giving too much away which I think the author achieved. It did not have me as intrigued as I would have expected but then by the time I had read this I had already purchased the book and the two paragraphs did not effect my buying decision.

      As soon as I started reading the story the first title was 'after' and told the reader about Bonnie trying to decide what to do with the body at her feet. This was only a couple of pages and then we moved to 'before' the incident. Again this was not long and told of the thoughts and emotions of Bonnie before it happened. And to my surprise this continued to happen all the way through the story. Initially it was the after that interested me and what Bonnie and her friend would do about the dead body. I wanted to know what happened and why but this was not revealed for a long time, leaving me with theories and ideas what may have happened. It was this that interested me and to be honest the before that revealed little, but still added to the suspense that was a little slow and dull.

      However the further the story moved the closer these two themes became. I found I needed to know what had led to this murder and only by reading both accounts would we ever get there. I enjoy the way it developed and the fact that these two themes where always short so that you would always remember exactly where each part of the story were. I found I was so hooked on what was happening within the stories it was a real pleasure to read and one I had to know the answers to.

      There was a really good pace to the story and while it seemed Bonnie had created a awful crime, you could not be sure what had happened. As on the face of it she seemed such a kind considerate lady. The characters where such a diverse crowd I found I wanted to know as much as possible about them, but cleverly the author would only share so much about them leaving a real sense of mystery about them all especially the charismatic Hayden who you wondered what he was really doing in this band when he already was in a much better one.

      I really enjoyed the suspense within the story as it was thick with it throughout. It was so cleverly written that you had no way of knowing what would happen until the very end of the story and nothing was given away. I found it intriguing the way it all unfolded always surprised and impressed me. It was the type of story you never knew what would happen next although it did all make perfect sense. And while Bonnie and Sonia had committed a crime by moving and disposing of the body I found them impossible not to like and feel for them, you just wondered what else Bonnie had done and why.

      Clearly Bonnie Graham was the star of the story and it was written from her perspective. I found her easy to like and respect, although you were never sure if she was a killer. I always had the feeling I wanted her in any case to get away with it as she didn't seem a bad person. The only thing that I found odd about her was that most of the men within the story seemed to be in love with her, but that did add spice to the story as jealously can make people do terrible things as well as acting differently from what you would expect.

      The length of the story for me was exactly right to tell a wonderful and so different story. If I have one criticism it would be that the story needed an epilogue as I would so like to know what happened to Bonnie a few weeks or months after the wedding. But by leaving the story as the writers did there was an opportunity for the reader to decide for themselves what would happen next. Having read and enjoyed this story I could well see this being transferred successfully to the small screen as it is such a clever concept the writers so expertly told with many excellent twists in it showing a lot of mystery and suspense.


      I would certainly recommend this as wonderfully psychological thriller. By breaking down the story into before and after I thought the writers were very brave but for me it really worked. As it ended up being a really intriguing story and one I did not want to put down until I had finished it. And even then I was still thinking about what had happened and why. Certainly for me this story is up there with the very best stories I have read this year and a classic Nicci French and one I really enjoyed reading.

      ==Other Information:==

      Paperback version:

      Price: 5.19 (New at Amazon)
      Publisher: Penguin
      ISBN-10: 0141040742
      ISBN-13: 978- 0141040745
      Year first published: 2010

      Thanks for reading my review.

      This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.

      © CPTDANIELS June 2012.


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      • More +
        22.06.2010 18:38
        Very helpful
        1 Comment



        A four star book from a ten star writiers duo

        It has been a few years since I read a Nicci French book so when I got this "buy three, get one free" offer I decided to buy the newest Nicci French book which was released in 2009 and is titled "Complicit". I finished the book last night, hope you enjoy this review!

        **The story**
        This book is about Bonnie, a girl who lives in London. The book starts with a description of an apartment where Bonnie is standing in and it is described what she sees. Soon it becomes clear that there is a dead man lying on the floor. A lot of questions arose to me. Who is the man on the floor and how did he get killed? Did Bonnie kill this man or was it someone else? Or did he kill himself? Or was it all an accident? I had loads of questions already after reading the first page. While reading on the book is split in two story lines. The first story line is in the past (before the man on the floor died) and every few paragraphs another font is used describing the here and now (After the man died).
        You meet Bonnies friends, Sonia, Joakim, Sally, Neal, Amos (Bonnies ex boyfriend) and Hayden. As Bonnie loves to play instruments, she is asked by Sally who is getting married, to play with a band on her wedding. Bonnie decides to look for some co-musicians and this is how a group of eccentric musicians is formed, who all have their secrets and weird habits. But what do they have to do with the dead man in the apartment and are they complicit to its dead? As the story develops it becomes clear Bonnie cannot trust everyone of her friends. Is she trusting the right people? Or endangering herself by being friends with the wrong ones?

        **My opinion**
        It is pretty difficult to write a review without spoiling the plot, if in fact the books starts with a dead man (which automatically gives me the idea, this is the plot). But that is what makes this book so surprisingly exciting. The fact that you already know that there is a dead man in the room and Bonnie is looking at him, is so mysterious that a hundred questions popped into mind!
        The story has a few unexpected turns which I liked a lot and the flashbacks in the book are also clearly written. You don't get mixed up at any point while reading. That also has the do with the different font of letters used for the different "timezones". I have to say that again, Nicci Gerrard and Sean French used their writing skills to produce an exciting, mysterious and well thought story. Characters are interesting and not "standard" and the tension between some of the friends makes the story even more interesting. I couldn't wait to finish this book, simply because I HAD to know what had happened to the man on the floor!


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