Good morning, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Sophie Hannah's latest, Woman With a Secret (aka The Telling Error in the UK).
Nicki has a secret, one she'll do just about anything to keep. But when that secret lands her in the center of a murder investigation, her life starts to crumble around her.
Nicki had been good for over three weeks. Ever since her run in with the cop, in fact. But a small errand for her kids puts her back in the sights of that same policeman when she stumbles into what appears to be a traffic stop in town. Desperate to avoid recognition, she decides to risk it and turn around. What Nicki doesn't know is that the traffic stop is part of the investigation into the murder of a controversial columnist with a string of enemies. And Nicki's attempt to avoid confrontation with the officer in question leads investigators to wonder if she could be involved in the crime.
Whew! Nicki has dug herself a hole that keeps getting deeper and deeper and deeper. We don't know what her issue with this cop is at the beginning of the book, so we don't really know if her actions that kick off this whole thing are warranted in any way or not. We do know that she's highly paranoid and, as we soon learn, that she does have things to hide.
This is the latest installment in Hannah's long running Spilling CID series, featuring Simon Waterhouse and Charlie Zailer. Fortunately, as has always been my worry since I've only read Little Face before now, you don't have to have read the previous books to be able to enjoy Woman With a Secret. Like the Deborah Crombie series I've recently become a fan of, the main plot of Woman is the individual case - Nicki's story and the murder of Damon Blundy - and while the main characters of the series have their own story (something's up with Charlie's sister and Gibbs), it's more of a continuing development of the characters than a main focus. In other words, Woman doesn't overly rely on the characters' backstories or previous cases and can essentially work as a stand alone.
Woman With a Secret is something of a polarizing read, at least based on what I've seen. And it's all thanks to Nicki. I'll admit I didn't like her. She frustrated me to no end. If she was a person I knew, I'd grab her by the shoulders and shake her all the while screaming "What is WRONG with you?!" That said, reading about her descent was highly entertaining in way that almost made me feel guilty. Her secrets are revealed a little at a time as the investigation progresses and you start to feel like there's just no way things are going to end well for her even if she is, as Gibbs thinks to himself "...more like a desperate idiot than an evil genius."
If you haven't yet read the series and want to read them in order, the full series list is as follows (UK title/US title):
Hurting Distance/The Truth-Teller's Lie
The Point of Rescue/The Wrong Mother
The Other Half Lives/The Dead Lie Down
A Room Swept White/The Cradle in the Grave
Lasting Damage/The Other Woman's House
Kind of Cruel
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.
For more on Sophie Hannah and her work you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.