Saturday, 29 April 2017

Review: Did You See Melody by Sophie Hannah

When I got my hands on this book I'm afraid it leapfrogged my 30-book-high to-be-read pile and I started on it immediately. I devoured it within 2 days! 2 days in which I was supposed to be doing other stuff, but I couldn't put it down.

The first half of the book is told from the point of view of Cara Burrows, an English woman running away from the (fairly minor) problem in her life. I can't tell you more about that, other than Cara wouldn't have a problem if she just learned to communicate with her family (husband and two children). When she asks for their opinion, and gets an answer she doesn't want, rather than plead her case she takes a chunk of money out of the family savings and heads off to a luxury spa in Arizona in retaliation. Although she does not tell her family where she is going, she does give them the date she plans to return - and then constantly checks their social media to see if they're missing her.

Cara arrives at The Swallowtail resort in Arizona full of self-righteous indignation, and completely disorientated from her flight. So when she picks up her key and goes into her room, it takes a moment for it to dawn on her that the room is already occupied by a father and his teenage daughter. Instead of quickly leaving Cara hides in the bathroom, making the situation worse, hearing them wake up and begin talking to each other - and discussing the person hiding in their bathroom ...

Later, when everything has been sorted out, it dawns on Cara that the man's 'daughter' may have been Melody Chapa, the most famous 'missing' child in America - her parents are currently in prison, suspected of her murder. But did Cara really see Melody, or imagine the whole thing?

I found Cara incredibly irritating but vastly entertaining - she comes up with some great one-liners towards the end of the book. I loved her friend Tarin, the 'Badass Mom', a florist who fancies herself as a sleuth. Tarin's relationship with her stroppy daughter is also entertaining, in an Eddy/Saffy (Absolutely Fabulous) kind of way. It's Tarin who perseveres with the 'is she/isn't she Melody' investigation (when Cara wishes Tarin would let the whole matter drop) and gets the police to take the case more seriously.

There is a lot of backstory, which I wasn't so keen on, telling the history of Melody's disappearance, the police investigation and the trials of the people suspected of murdering her. Some of this backstory is told in articles Cara reads online, some is told through transcripts of a TV show. The transcripts I found harder to concentrate on (they'd work better in a TV/film adaptation). I'm afraid I ended up skipping some because I wanted to get back to the story happening in the present. I wouldn't recommend doing this though, because I missed a fairly vital clue!

Overall, I really did enjoy this book. Sophie Hannah is a brilliant writer and there were lots of genuine twists I didn't see coming. Several times I thought I'd worked everything out, only to be thrown by another twist - particularly at the end. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes well-written mysteries, lots of twists, psychological suspense that's a little bit different, and stories with eccentric characters.

I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this book, which isn't out until 24th August 2017.

Thank you to Sophie Hannah, Hodder & Stoughton, and Netgalley for my copy of this book, which I received in exchange for an honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment