The Point of Rescue by Sophie Hannah

A quick rundown… Sally’s secret week away turns into a nightmare when she sees a man on TV calling himself the same person as the man she met while away. What’s going on?

Strengths: Taut and tense thriller

Weaknesses: Found it somewhat difficult to believe the murderer’s motive.

Why I read it: Loved Hurting Distance; bought in the Borders final sale.

Pages: 464

Published: 2008

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

Setting: England

Rating: 9 out of 10

If you liked this, try: Hurting Distance by the same author

I really enjoyed the first Sophie Hannah book I read (Hurting Distance), so I was surprised to see so many of her books on Borders’ shelves during the last days of their closing down sale. Perhaps she isn’t as well known in Australia? (Perhaps that might explain why I bought another of her books for $5 at the $5 bookstall). I think she is really underrated here – she’s a first class thriller writer. Mystery, police, psychological drama and murders – she has it in one. Fans of Minette Walters or The Hand that Rocked the Cradle would enjoy her books.

Don’t be put off that the police characters (namely Charlie and Simon) are recurring. I’m reading the books completely out of order and it doesn’t matter at all. There was ‘something’ between them in the past (possibly even before the series started) and now we have missed opportunities and sexual tension. While you may be beginning to think ‘oh no here we go again’, that really isn’t the case. What makes Hannah’s books stand out is that the main characters of the books are victims or near victims. The police are secondary and are there so you know both sides of the story.

The majority of this story is told by Sally Thorning. Sally’s a harried mum with a job, a lovely husband and a messy house. The previous year, she was meant to attend a conference which was cancelled. So, instead of telling her family, she went to a hotel for a week of peace. There, she met Mark Bretherwick and had a dalliance with him. So when Mark’s wife and daughter are murdered, Sally is upset. But the man on the television report isn’t the man Sally knows. The only thing is, she can’t tell anyone what she knows without jeopardising her marriage…

The novel presents a very different view of motherhood from what is commonly portrayed in the media – we have the perfect mother, the busy mother and the uncaring mother all portrayed. It explores as much the psychological aspect of raising a child as it does the murders. Some may be offended at having to confront their own feelings about being a parent. (Perhaps this is why some have ranked this book poorly?) You certainly won’t guess the murderer beforehand! Hannah weaves red herrings, blind alleys and chance clues together skilfully so that you’ll stay up all night reading this. I’m looking forward to reading more of her books!

(Note that this book was also published under the title of The Wrong Mother).

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3 thoughts on “The Point of Rescue by Sophie Hannah

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  1. I’ve only read one book by Sophie Hannah – “Little Face” – and it was pretty enjoyable. From the descriptions of her other books including this one, I think she has really interesting premises. In “Little Face”, I thought the motivations behind the characters made a fair bit of sense, but it was an apparently divisive book, judging by other reviews I’ve read.

  2. Love her books they are first rate thrillers that keep you guessing. I don’t know if you saw a telly series based on this book it was a complete let down that did not capture the complexities of her plot lines.

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