Losing You by Nicci French

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Losing You by Nicci French

Category: Crime
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Kerry King
Reviewed by Kerry King
Summary: A page-turner that gave our reviewer palpitations tracks eight hours when a young girl goes missing and her mother is the only one who believes that she hasn't run away. It's highly recommended by Bookbag.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: January 2007
Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd
ISBN: 978-0718147822

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Nicci French (Nicci Gerrard and Sean French), are a super-successful married writing-duo based out in Suffolk. I'm thinking of moving there if living out in turkey territory inspires fast-paced, slick, psychological thrillers such as Losing You.

I will first tell you that I began reading this story with no small amount of trepidation. I have never partaken of a Nicci French novel before and had heard that whilst these offerings are less flagrant than say, Ruth Rendell (yawn), French had not fallen far short of grinding to a predictable halt, plot-wise, in her more recent efforts. After all, reading time is precious! In fact, I missed my stop on the Tube last night because I was so immersed in the heart-stopping narrative of this novel that I didn't even realise I had arrived home!

The story is set on tiny Sandling Island which is joined by a tidal causeway, somewhere off the coast of East Anglia. In French's description, it comes across as the perfect setting for a thriller: bleak and remote. The tale describes the events of roughly eight hours in the life of Nina Landry, mother to daughter Charlotte (or Charlie as she is affectionately called), and son Jackson, ex-wife to the volatile Rory, new girlfriend to Christian and "The Food Person" to Sludge the deranged Labrador.

As if turning forty and having a surprise birthday forced upon her before the clock has even struck noon are not bad enough, Nina's day is about to get a lot worse. She hasn't finished packing for the family holiday to Florida where she and the children will spend Christmas with Christian, and Charlie seems to have disappeared.

The usual mothers' recce of friends, friends' parents and neighbours leaves Nina coming up blank and as time ticks past, Nina realises that Charlie could not - would not - have simply run away. They were going on holiday. Charlie was looking forward to it. With mounting alarm, Nina races from one part of the island to the next searching for Charlie and re-tracing her steps in a desperate bid to find her.

Increasingly frustrated at her own lack of success, she eventually calls the police, quickly grasping that the police are more interested in convincing Nina that this is normal teenage behaviour. Nina begins to appreciate for the first time in her life that she does not know her daughter as well as she had assumed she did. A cold, dark fear seeps into Nina's bones and she knows that she must find her daughter, with or without the help of the police, before it is too late.

French conveys the sensation of time slipping through Nina's fingers with deftness and flair. I found myself reading the book much faster than I may ordinarily have done if the impression of panic had not been so ably communicated. I had to catch myself many times as the pace quickened, to stop page-reading and go back to enjoy the prose. My heart was definitely thumping in my chest.

I suppose, grudgingly as it's doctrinaire to do so, but in order to give a well-rounded review that includes both biases, I could say that closer examination of the plot reveals a couple of squeaks - we really do want to know what happens to Christian and to Karen - but in honesty, these squeaks do not detract from what is unravelling in any way whatsoever and were more an idle musing once I had slapped the cover closed.

This book is, in my opinion, designed to be devoured in a single sitting. There are no natural breaks in the story to allow for chapter-by-chapter bites and besides, this book is one that you will carry, open and reading, off the train, up the road, into the house and onto the sofa without taking your coat off!

Thank you to the lovely people at Penguin for sending us this riveting read.

Five Bookbag Stars and a serious hot pick!

Don't borrow it, buy it because it's a thrilling read and perfect for re-reading on holiday or on a rainy day and buy it especially if you like Nicci French's other offerings, in particular Catch Me When I Fall. You may also like Ian Rankin's The Falls, Missing by Karin Alvtegen and Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell.

Buy Losing You by Nicci French at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Losing You by Nicci French at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Losing You by Nicci French at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Losing You by Nicci French at Amazon.com.


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lechateau1962 said:

I have never really liked this author but after reading your review will give her another go.Fingers crossed