Hurting Distance by Sophie Hannah

I was thrilled to meet psychological thriller writer Sophie Hannah at Swanwick Writers’ Summer School last year. I bought a book for my sister and Hurting Distance for me. It has taken an international pandemic and lockdown for me to get my TBR pile down far enough to get to this excellent novel.

Hurting Distance is the second in Hannah’s Culver Valley Crime series. However, it works well as a stand alone. In this novel, something terrible happened to Naomi Jenkins three years ago. It was so terrible that she never told anybody. However, Naomi has another secret, her boyfriend is a married man. She has fallen passionately in love with a man who came to her rescue at a service station, unhappily married Robert Haworth.

When Robert vanishes without trace, Naomi knows he must have come to harm. But the police are less convinced, particularly when Robert’s wife insists he is not missing. Then, Naomi has an idea. If she cannot persuade the police that Robert is in danger, perhaps she can convince them that he is a danger to others. Then they will have to look for him.

Naomi knows how to describe in detail the actions of a psychopath. All she needs to do is dig up her own troubled past but police sergeant Charlie Zailler is amazed to find that she is part of the puzzle.

This is a chilling psychological thriller that is hard to read at times. However, it is a beautifully crafted story that comes to a gripping end.

The Author

Sophie Hannah is an internationally bestselling crime fiction writer whose books have sold millions of copies worldwide. Her crime novels have been translated into 49 languages and published in 51 countries. Her psychological thriller The Carrier won the Crime Thriller of the Year Award at the 2013 UK National Book Awards. In 2014 and 2016, Sophie published The Monogram Murders and Closed Casket, the first new Hercule Poirot mysteries since Agatha Christie’s death, both of which were national and international bestsellers. She went on to publish a third, The Mystery of Three Quarters in 2018 which was an instant bestseller, and her fourth Poirot novel, The Killings at Kingfisher Hill will be published in August 2020. Sophie helped to create a Master’s Degree in Crime and Thriller Writing at the University of Cambridge, for which she is the main teacher and Course Director. She is also the founder of the Dream Author Coaching Programme for writers which launched in September 2019.

Sophie is also an award-winning, bestselling poet, and her poetry is studied at GCSE level across the UK. She has co-written two murder mystery musicals with composer Annette Armitage: The Mystery of Mr. E and Work Experience. She has written a self-help book called How To Hold a Grudge: From Resentment to Contentment – The Power of Grudges to Transform Your Life, and hosts the How to Hold a Grudge podcast.

Sophie lives with her husband, children and dog in Cambridge, where she is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College.

Val Penny

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