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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Book Review: The Carrier by Sophie Hannah

The Carrier is the eighth novel by Sophie Hannah which focuses on the same group of police officers and the case that is foxing them at the time. This time round it's highly complicated: Gaby Struthers is on a day-long trip to Germany for business when her flight's cancelled. When they are transported first to another airport then a hotel a hysterical woman, Lauren, latches onto Gaby, finally startling her with the news that an innocent man is in prison for murder. Gaby knows that Lauren's appearance can hardly be coincidental when she finds out that the murder victim was Francine Breary, the wife of the man Gaby loved and couldn't have.

I have to admit, I didn't find The Carrier as captivating as some of Hannah's previous books. However, there were many aspects of it that I did like. The first chapters dealing with Gaby and Lauren in Germany were excellent to read, both intriguing and funny. Gaby is a very honest person, a bit of a sarcastic snob, and that makes her fantastic to read about for the first third of the book. Lauren, equally, is a character who bounces off the page and remains a vivid character throughout as her relationships with her husband, father and employers are explored.

Perhaps one of the main difficulties I had with this book was the sense in the middle that things were being repeated far too often. Tim Breary's relationship with his wife is documented via several sources and that repetition felt a little redundant at times. It also seemed for a little while that we weren't getting anywhere, with other characters and the police finding out things the reader was already aware of. This was a necessary evil and it well may be that the problem was magnified by my eagerness to find out what was going to happen - never in itself a bad thing.

Did I think the ending was good? Most definitely, yes. Working out the truth behind Francine's death was as intricate as it usually is with Hannah's books but I was satisfied by both the discovery and the aftermath of the discovery. In addition, I thought the police elements continue to spread out beyond the (still excellent) central pairing of Charlie and Simon to explore some of the other detectives in a little more detail. Every novel with these characters feels like a butterfly gradually unfurling its wings and I can't wait to see where she takes them next.

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