A Trick of the Mind by Penny Hancock

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A Trick of the Mind by Penny Hancock

Buy A Trick of the Mind by Penny Hancock at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Thrillers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Ellie is pulled into the depths of a mysterious hit and run, but who is the victim, and what really happened on the road that night?
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: January 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
ISBN: 978-1471115080

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Ellie doesn’t know what happened on the road that night. She felt her car bump something, but it was only slight. But now the newsreader on the radio is telling her there was a hit and run on that stretch. Can the two things be connected? Could she really have knocked down and injured an innocent man and not even noticed?

This is a complicated tale where it’s hard to keep track of who’s who, what’s what, and where it’s all going, reflecting Ellie’s own thoughts of the situation. Unable to shake off the horrible suspicion she may be guilty of a crime, she finds a way to meet the victim, a handsome stranger called Patrick, and before she can help herself has embedded herself in his life. But playing a role she’s not rehearsed for is hard, tiring and troubling for Ellie. Would it have been easier to tell the truth from the start? And is she now in too deep to find her way back out?

This is a convenient book of convenient situations, which make the story work. It is handy that Ellie only has a part time job so she is free to explore what she needs to with Patrick. It is useful that his injuries appear quite severe, so he doesn’t pick up on her fibs. Aunt May’s house gives a fitting reason for the story to have two settings, and for past secrets that haven’t been uncovered over the years because it’s not Ellie’s own home. It seemed a little too tidy at times, perhaps, with things slotting a little too neatly into place.

Towards the end, this became a different story, and while the pace increased, so did the liberties I felt were being taken. There were a lot of reveals, some obvious, some almost incomprehensible with not much in that nice area in between where you work things out but only moments before the characters do. I’m surprised Ellie wasn’t more concerned for their safety, and she seemed either naïve or flippant in her actions as the ending galloped closer.

I wouldn’t want you to think only negative things about this book, though, because those were just minor points and for the first big chunk of the story I had no criticism of the story, even if I did think Ellie needed some sense knocked into her. Her odd obsessions were peculiar and I would have liked them to have been explored further, or at least repeated more often rather than just when she remembered to do them. I liked reading about her career success, too, because often leads in these sorts of books just float through work and all the action takes place out of hours, but I was left a little confused by her teaching role.

This is a mysterious book, something of a thriller, but not dark or scary for the most part. It’s an easy read which makes a change for this genre, and the simplicity is enticing, especially if this is not your usual style of read. The potential is definitely there and I think it’s because I enjoyed the first half that I was left a little despondent by the ending. I was invested, and hoping for a little bit more.

I’d like to thank the publishers for supplying this book, and would recommend it for an easy introduction to psychological thrillers, and a brilliant British setting.

As mentioned earlier, I would recommend the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy to any and everyone - a thrilling adventure that also tackles meaty theological questions. Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman is a beautiful little book that expands on the initial trilogy.

And for those loving fantasy, The Dagger and Coin: The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham is a wonderfully written book by a fantastic author, that - much like Son of the Morning, combines great world building with top-notch characterisation.

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Buy A Trick of the Mind by Penny Hancock at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Trick of the Mind by Penny Hancock at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy A Trick of the Mind by Penny Hancock at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Trick of the Mind by Penny Hancock at Amazon.com.


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