The Doll's House by Tania Carver

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The Doll's House by Tania Carver

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Lu Greer
Reviewed by Lu Greer
Summary: A crime mystery novel using intertwining stories to create twists, turns and nail biting tensions which centre on a killer, and who is controlling him. Tania Carver has really stepped it up in this offering, reaching the crime writing elite.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 480 Date: September 2013
Publisher: Sphere
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0751550528

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There can be no confusion in the name of the latest Tania Carver novel. The Doll's House well and truly sums it up, which is made clear as the book opens in a very pink, very well laid out lounge with a living doll, also dressed in pink, arranging the room until it is spotless. Aside from the slightly ominous undertones and the repetition that everything must be perfect; the reader could almost be forgiven for initially thinking they haven’t picked up a crime novel at all. It soon becomes obvious that this isn’t the case though as we follow DI Phil Brennan back into that same room with the doll sat straight-backed at the precisely laid out dinner table. This time though, the doll is dead.

This is the fifth book from the Brennan/Esposito series, and it sees some big changes from its predecessors. The previous Carver books have all been based in Colchester and have had a very strong sense of place, so having Brennan and his wife up sticks and move to Birmingham could certainly be considered risky, but if anything it lets this book pack even more of a punch than those that have come before it. This relocation means that aside from the compelling main story, the new tensions Brennan must face by joining a new police force in a higher position than some think he deserves gives an element of animosity to the policing side of things which has previously been absent. This relocation also means that Marina Esposito has a whole new university team to meet, one of whom turns her life upside down, with the reverberations reaching throughout the novel.

Whilst it is becoming commonplace for crime novels to have multiple narratives running throughout, what makes The Doll's House somewhat different is the perspectives of Brennan and his wife Marina. This is because it allows the reader to see two different sides of the mystery and route for Brennan to make the discoveries which have already been revealed to us, but without the mystery itself being solved until the final moments of the book. This multiple narrative technique means that Carver also gives the reader the perspective of the killer himself, which again initially seems fairly conventional nowadays, but it is once again a sentiment turned on its head in this novel. Because in The Doll's House the killer isn’t the one in control, and the mystery lies in just who is pulling his strings, the answer to which is anything but expected.

Whilst the four previous Tania Carver novels have all had compelling characters, excellent settings and gripping mysteries, in The Doll's House the change of setting has breathed new life into characters and place descriptions whilst the mystery itself is highly original and full of suspense with an entirely unseen ending. The changes in this novel give the sense that the Brennan/Esposito series has just entered into a brand new era, and I for one can’t wait for the next installment of it.

For books full of nail biting tension try Val McDermid, with A Darker Domain being a particularly good offering. Alternatively, for a book with more of a focus on the mystery elements of crime try No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay.

Buy The Doll's House by Tania Carver at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Doll's House by Tania Carver at

Buy The Doll's House by Tania Carver at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Doll's House by Tania Carver at


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