By now I think anybody glancing at this blog will have gleaned that I'm a Sophie Hannah fan - an unapologetic one, I must add. I love her writing in all forms and the fact that I'm able to enjoy her novels for the first time is one of life's little pleasures.
Hurting Distance is the second in her on-going series about police officers Charlie Zailer and Simon Waterhouse. It was first published in 2007 meaning I'm a little late with my review but you can't be penalised for discovering a fantastic author late surely? It follows the same pattern as the other books in the series - alternating between the police POV and the victim's.
Generally, the plot of this one isn't for the faint-hearted. It's gritty, painful to read at times, and exposes an aspect of humanity I didn't really want to know about. If rape is an issue that makes you squirm this book isn't for you. However, Hannah doesn't shy away from probing deep into the mentalities of the characters involved and she has a delicious habit of setting up events in so subtle a way that even an astute reader would have difficulty keeping up.
The serial elements of the novel are explained well enough for new readers to settle right in. I must admit though that I've disliked Simon a little in the other books I've read. This one helped me understand him more; the same with his colleague, Charlie.
Overall, I'd recommend reading the series in order (!). But, if you can't and just want a book to pick up, this is far from a bad choice.