Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Room Swept White by Sophie Hannah




Paperback:  456 pages
Genre:  Psychological thriller
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton 2010
Source: Oxfam Charity Bookshop in the UK
Review Quote: 'Tension thy name is Sophie Hannah' The Independent.
First Sentence: Part I : I am looking at numbers when Laurie phones, numbers that mean nothing to me.
My opinion: The numbers calling card was clever!


I have followed Sophie Hannah's writing for about the last four years and this is the sixth of her novels that I have read, so there is no doubt that I find her work very readable. Psychological thrillers are not my favourite genre but as her books are ones that my husband will read as well, we always pick them up if we come across them on our travels.

This is the author's fifth novel to feature Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer as part of the police team investigating the case. It does not matter though if you have not read her previous novels as apart from the reappearance of some of the characters in the police force the main theme of the story is unconnected. The only thing you will have missed out on is the changing relationship between Simon and Charlie, by the way the Charlie is female for those of you that might be wondering.

I finished reading ' a room swept white' not having solved the puzzle for myself, a good sign that the book kept me guessing all the way to the end. The numbers calling card was very clever and I was impressed without what it turned out to mean!

As in her previous novels the story unfolds in the two parallel stories, in the first person by the female protagonist Fliss Benson, a young TV producer who has been given the job of directing a documentary about women accused of killing their babies. The other story concerns the police investigation keeping the reader informed of all that is happening, the murder being investigated is of Helen Yardley one of the women due to appear in the proposed documentary. While Fliss is working on the case with the remaining women there is another murder committed and she begins to feel that maybe she is in danger herself. To find out if Fliss was right to be worried you will have to read the book for yourself.

In her usual indubitable style of writing Sophie Hannah has written yet another sometimes muddling and complicated plot, you need to concentrate, well I did anyway. The social dilemmas of 'cot death' are extremely well coped with and gave me a lot to think about. If you enjoy a novel that makes you think and can cope with the fact that the subject matter can be distressing, then I can recommend this one to you.


Author Profile


The biographical information used today is courtesy of her Official Website

Sophie Hannah is the author of six internationally bestselling psychological thrillers – Little FaceHurting DistanceThe Point of RescueThe Other Half LivesA Room Swept White and Lasting Damage. Her novels are published in 20 countries, with more foreign rights deals under negotiation.The Other Half Lives was short-listed for the 2010 Independent Booksellers’ Book of the Year Award and is currently short listed, under its US title The Dead Lie Down, for a Barry Award.  Little Face and Hurting Distance were both longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award, and Little Face was longlisted for the IMPAC Award. The Point of Rescue, Sophie’s first thriller to be adapted for television, will be broadcast on ITV1 in May under the series title Case Sensitive.
In 2004, Sophie won first prize in the Daphne Du Maurier Festival Short Story Competition for her suspense story The Octopus Nest, which is now published in her first collection of short stories The Fantastic Book of Everybody’s Secrets.
Sophie has also published five collections of poetry. Her fifth, Pessimism for Beginners, was shortlisted for the 2007 TS Eliot Award. Her poetry is studied at GCSE, A-level and degree level across the UK. From 1997 to 1999 she was Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College, Cambridge, and between 1999 and 2001 she was a fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. She is thirty-nine and lives with her husband and children in Cambridge, where she is a Fellow Commoner at Lucy Cavendish College.


I have featured Sophie Hannah on this blog more than once and reviewed her earlier novels, although the earlier ones just on Bookcrossing as it was before I started LindyLouMac's Book Reviews .  Please click on the title links below to read my earlier reviews. 


Cordial and Corrosive  Bookcrossing review
Little Face  Bookcrossing review.
Hurting Distance  Reviewed on this blog in 2010.
Point of Rescue  Reviewed on this blog in 2010.   Now published as The Wrong Mother.
The Other Half Lives  Reviewed on this blog in 2011.

The biographical information and photo used in this post are with thanks to the following websites, where you can also find more information about the author and her writing.

Sophie Hannah Official Website,  Amazon Profile,    Goodreads - Author Profile.

I have chosen to read this title as the letter R for The A - Z Book Challenge which I have decided to attempt to achieve in alphabetical order. I have a good selection of titles to choose from our bookshelves, it will be interesting to see how far I can get before I get stuck. You can follow my progress here.  



26 comments:

  1. Hi Linda,

    I don't even think that I have any Sophie Hannah books on my shelves, at least I can't see any at first glance.

    I can't for the life of me think why, when she writes such great sounding psychological thrillers, which is one of my favourite genres.

    I can only assume that I mistakenly thought her books were in another genre completely, so didn't look on them as needing to be read with the same urgency!

    I shall stop by and check out your other Sophie Hannah reviews, when I have a little more time, but I have definitely added her to my author list already, following your glowing and well constructed review.

    Thanks for the recommendation.

    Yvonne

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    1. Yvonne, I am surprised especially as I think her writing will appeal to you.

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  2. Hi Linda,I know a few people that read her books , but not me.. I see them in the bookshops and think, I like the title , but they are just not for me .. but there again we can all like the same authors :-)

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    1. Anne it would definitely be a boring world if we all liked the same books, but as you already know I have very eclectic tastes when it comes to reading.

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  3. There's nothing like a good psychological thriller! I've not read this author, but will add her to my list.

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    1. Oh yes do JoAnn and let me know what you think.

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  4. Just put her first book in the series Little Face on hold at my local library. Looking forward to reading it

    (((( Hugs )))) XXXX Kisses XXXX

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    1. I am so pleased to know you have and that you are starting at the beginning of the series. Do let me know what you think.

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  5. Sounds like a riveting read:) I'm reading more psychological thrillers recently so I think this will be one for my list. I love the cover; the escaped balloon suspended in the corner of the room made me wonder...

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Do start with the first in the series if you can Joanne, I think you may well enjoy Sophie Hannah's writing. Do come back and let me know.
      Removed earlier due to poor typos!

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  6. Looks interesting, I love psychological thrillers. Greetings.

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    1. Hi Leovi, I did not know you were a keen reader as well! If you enjoy a good psychological thriller then I think you may well enjoy this author.

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  7. Keen to pick this up after your review.

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    1. I am so pleased my review has tempted you Indrani.

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  8. I have to admit that I haven't read any of Sophie Hannah's books, but my aunt is a fan and keeps telling me I should do so. This review makes me want to get on and buy the book.

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  9. I'm not familiar with this author's books - and they sound most intriguing. Thanks for the review, Lindylou.

    Janice x

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    1. I am not normally a great fan of this genre but somehow Sophie Hannah's intriguing writing has made her novels an exception.

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  10. Thanks for the review and bringing this author to my attention, can't believe I haven't heard her mentioned in my book circles. Maybe I have and it just doesn't ring any bells.

    Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

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    1. I am surprised as well Lainy, maybe outside your normal comfort zone?

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  11. That's super to read about this review and i think you've got the maximum comments for this book review in the recent past.

    That's wonderful!

    I like the way you've added your thoughts and then added your take on the book.
    Only if you can, add a consolidated take on author's biography. Would love to read about the author from your perspective.

    Cheers to many more books!

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    1. Thankyou for your thoughtful comment to which I will give some thought about the author biographies. I think time is always the factor when compiling posts Divenita.

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  12. Hello Lindylou, this sounds rather good. They say you should never judge a book by it's cover, but I always do! I would definitely pick this one up.Love Linda x

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    1. Hi Linda, how lovely to have you call by and comment on my book blog. Sophie Hannah is definitely an author worth picking up if you enjoy psychological thrillers.

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  13. Thrillers are usually not my thing, but this does sound good. And something about the title grabs me.

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    1. Carol, I do not read many thrillers either, but I do find a good psychological thriller can be very readable and Sophie Hannah is worth reading. Do let me know if you decided to try her writing.

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