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As usual I bought this book because amazon recommended it to me! With the amount of spare time I have at the moment I thought I'd fill some in by buying a couple of cheapish books from amazon, if this has been more expensive I might not have bought it because it is not normally my type of book. However the plot sounded fairly interesting and it had great reviews so I thought I might as well buy it.
It is supposed to be a thriller mystery type story that will keep you guessing until the end. In the novel Ellie Faulkner thinks that her life is going along just fine - she has a job that she really loves and a husband she loves. However, one day she gets the shock news that her husband has died in a car crash. As if that wasn't bad enough, he wasn't alone in the car, in fact he was with a woman called Milena Livingstone who Ellie has never heard of. Everybody instantly suspects an affair, and offers their condolences to her, but she knows that it is something more than that and sets out to the find the truth; just who is Milena Livingstone?
We are plunged straight into the action, on the first few pages Ellie is talking about how your life can change in a few moments as straight away, this could be considered a good thing but I would have quite liked some more background with her and Greg because although we heard a lot of what Ellie thought about him, we never really saw anything happen between the two of them. While it is a good concept for the book and thats why I bought it, thinking that it seemed interesting it just wasn't done very well as it could have been. It wasn't particularly engaging and things weren't explained very well. When I finished it I just wasn't really bothered.
==Synopsis of the book:==
Ellie Falkner world is turned upside down when she received the shocking news of her husband's death Greg in a car accident leaving her a widow at just 34. However she is very confused about the circumstances of his death as the Police advised her that a mysterious woman called Milena Livingstone also died as she was the passenger in the vehicle.
Ellie even after a little investigation can't work out who this woman is. Although without saying it directly to her all her friends all believe he must have been having an affair with this woman. She cannot except this as their marriage had always been a happy, close one with no secrets. So she sets out to find out more about Milena and prove that her husband was not involved with her.
However in trying to do this Ellie will have to lie, cheat and even take on a new identity and even then she starts to question her own sanity. As she becomes obsessive about clearing her late husbands name and her close friends really start to worry about her and what is happening to her.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
This is about the fifth book I have read from this author, and as such I think you can class me as a fan of their work. Because Nicci French is not one person but two, it is the husband and wife partnership of Sean French and Nicci Gerald. Although I have to admit I found this suspense thriller to be quite disappointing but their usually very high standards.
The book I am reviewing here is one of the latest in a successful series of thrillers, it was written in 2009 and as the title suggest deals with the very upsetting subject of dealing with losing a loved one. Although I have to say I think this was handled with great sensitively and this helped you develop empathy and compassion for the one left behind in this tragedy.
The story started with the dreaded visit by the Police to Ellie to break the news. I found I immediately got into the story and I found it easy to relate to the way she felt. I thought the author's used a lot of understanding of human psychology and the way peoples feeling change and at times seem irrational or obsessive. I understand that she needed to find out more about the dead women in the car and to try and prove he was not having an affair with her.
However this was when I started to struggle with the story and found it all unlikely and started losing interest in it. I just found the way Ellie changed identity to infiltrate the dead women's life as unbelievable and for me lacked creditability. As a result I found it quite hard going and slow moving. While I could see what the writers where doing and admired the unexpected chain of events they created I found it very hard to comprehend.
Although to give the writers their due I did find it interesting and I had no idea where they were going with the story and what would happen next. I did like the idea of Ellie having a double life but it all seemed too easy they way she moved in on Mileno's life and no-one seemed to really to question what she was doing. As a result of this it seemed a long time before the story really took off and the mystery unfolded and while I enjoyed the quality of the writing and story lacked the depth in suspense that I expected.
Towards the end of the story I enjoyed the quickening pace and real sense of uncertainty as to what would happen and how it would all end up. As a result it was always a surprise as to what did happen but to my mind the answers to the mystery was ultimately unconvincing and quite thin. What was not at all in keeping to the depth and thought put behind the rest of the story and the characters within it.
Ellie was clearly the main character in the story and it was written from her point of view. This was great because it allowed you to understand much clearer her thoughts, actions and the way her mind was working. I found her easy to like and understand, while I could appreciate entirely why she had to find the truth. I found her a well written character with a wonderfully rich personality and friends to match!! The only thing that did surprise me was how difficult and how long it took her to grieve for her dead partner.
What I did enjoy and appreciate was the quality of the stories support characters. These included her friends, family and new work colleagues. I thought the writers clearly spent a long time working on their personalities and this depth came through for me in their writing. As a result of this I knew immediately who was who and their relationship with Ellie and Greg. I found particularly her friends attitudes, thoughts and actions concerning Ellie to be consistent and in keeping with their roles within the story.
The story always had the element of mystery about what happened to Greg and why in the background and I felt because of the long convoluted story this was never exploited to it's potential and for me it all seemed a little far fetched and lacked the author's usual creditability and clear thinking.
My paperback version was longer than I thought necessary at 384 pages.Although I did manage to pick this up new at Amazon for just £4.84.
My overall opinion of this suspense thriller was it was only an average novel. It disappointed me and I felt the story lacked believability and credibility, but for that it was still an interesting and at times thought proving book. For fans of Nicci French this is a must buy but for all other fans of suspense thrillers save for money for the next one in the series.
Thank you for taking the trouble to read my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo.
©CPTDANIELS August 2010