What to do When Someone Dies by Nicci French

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Heeeeellllo readers, hope you’re well! Today’s book is one by Nikki French and it’s actually pretty good! At home we have a book shelf where you can put books once you’ve read them but don’t mind if they’re borrowed, used, lost. It’s supposed to be a way of allowing you to keep the books you want safe and also share ones you don’t mind others reading; although it doesn’t always work that way – anyway, this is one that I borrowed from the shelf from my Mumma and it was pretty good.

‘This is not my world. Something is wrong, askew. . . I am Ellie Falkner, thirty-four years old and married to Greg Manning. Although two police officers have just come to my door and told me he is dead . . . ‘

It’s devastating to hear that your husband has died in a horrific car accident. But to learn that he died with a mystery woman as his passenger is torment. Was Greg having an affair?

Drowning in grief, Ellie clings to Greg’s innocence, and her determination to prove it to the world at large means she must find out who Milena Livingstone was and what she was doing in Greg’s car. But in the process those around her begin to question her sanity and motive. And the louder she shouts that Greg must have been murdered, the more suspicion falls on Ellie herself.

Sometimes it’s safer to keep silent when someone dies.

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I’m not going to spend anytime re-writing the blurb because it’s allll there to read. The first thing to mention, is that although this is marketed as a thriller, it’s more of a find out the truth style book – Ellie’s husband Greg’s body is found in a burned out car with another woman; rather than taking the police’s belief that it is a simply a horrific accident and the two were having an affair, Ellie denies this and decides instead to take the investigation into her own hands.  From this point onwards the story is narrated by Ellie in first person narrative. She has a clinical and dry personality; she doesn’t cry at the funeral  she is consumed by proving that Greg wouldn’t , and couldn’t have had an affair.

The writing despite Ellie’s strained personality has a certain quality that draws the reader in. The word lyrical isn’t quite right but the contrast between her feelings; this constant desperation to find the truth in an almost soulless way and the writing style that is so engaging and interesting to read. Her constant rejection from the police’s discussions, they’re rejection of her desperation saying it is all grief and nothing else contrasted with the lyrical writing style is incredibly engaging. Lots of the reviews on Goodreads say that it’s too cold and un-engaging but I found that the stifling lack of emotion of Ellie just helped to prove the true roots of the love between Ellie and Greg and her constant persistence to clear his name.

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Yes at times what she does it a little bizarre and it does make her come across a little deluded but there’s such a devotion to Greg and because he’s not there tell his side of the story it’s difficult to get a feel for Ellie before the terrible event happens. We learn more about her through her actions; sneaking herself into the place where the woman that died with her husband worked, meeting Frances, mix in the friends and family around her and the authors manage to construct a really true and intriguing character. YEs, she might be a little difficult to warm to, but in her position it is understandable.

Did I work out who did it? Yes, I did I have to admit and it wasn’t too difficult to but I didn’t think that hindered the plot or my enjoyment on the book on the whole. I must admit that I enjoyed this, but only really as a calm, interesting thriller-ish book. It didn’t really rock my world, it didn’t feel like a punch you in the face book, and on the whole it’s a little tame but it’s definitely an exciting read and definitely if you want a book that really plays with the feelings of the main character it’s on to definitely pick up.

Linnnnksssss

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Complicit: Nicci French

Hello, little bloggers! So it’s time for me to start churning out the reviews, and whilst I was at home I selfishly raided Mumma B’s bedside table. There are always new books stashed under there, and although I have so many books to read I just needed something to get my teeth into whilst snuggled in bed. I was not disappointed, this book is so incredibly deadly and so brilliantly written that you cannot help but be drawn into the mystery. As always, I am still taking review requests so if you do have a book, or a novella or even just a couple of chapters published on your blog do not wait to give me and email and get your book in the queue to be reviewed! Although the list is a little long and I have so, so, so many to read I will get round to them all eventually I promise! Anyway, enough of me rambling and onto the review!

Who is more deadly?

An enemy? A friend?

Or a lover?

Bonnie Graham is in her friend’s flat. She is alone, except for the dead body lying in a pool of blood. What happened? What will she do? And is any or all of it her fault? Bonnie is a music teacher who has spent a long, hot summer in London rehearsing with a band. It was supposed to be fun, but the tricky knots of the band’s friendships unravel with each passing day.What was meant to be a summer of happiness, music and love turns deadly as lovers betray, passions turn homicidal and friendship itself becomes a crime.Someone in the band must be a killer. Is it Bonnie? And if not – who is it?

Wow, does this book reel the reader in from the start or not! Immediately we are faced with a woman sat in a flat with the dead body of a man. Who is the man? Who is she? Is she involved? What on earth happened here? See Bonnie Graham was only housesitting a friends flat, however something terrible has happened. Bonnie Graham understandingly desperately needs to clear up the mess that has occurred; however it puts her at right in the scene of the crime. Calling a friend, who runs to help Bonnie clean up the pooling blood, and therefore hiding evidence and dumping the body the two become entrusted in secrecy to each other. Only time will tell, when someone will report the poor man missing. As the story unfolds we find that all is not as it seems; is Bonnie telling the truth that she is not directly involved in the murder? Who can the reader trust? Read on to find out!

One of the things I loves most about the book is how it is set up; the book is separated into before and after sections, easily distinguished by the changing of font, (which I must note is incredibly helpful to the reader.) By splitting the action between the time frames it allows for a build up of tension in seeing the outcome of such events, whilst the author is still establishing to the reader what has actually happened. At times it does make the head spin and it did cause me at times to look back and double check I was on the right line as to what was actually happening. However it definitely helps to build the atmosphere and the anxiety that helps to string the events in the storyline together. In the parts that describe the ‘before’ sections of the narrative, we see a group of old acquaintances joining together to create a band to play at a friend’s wedding. We see in these moments, this group of accidental and haphazard individuals who are bundled together by the unsure Graham and they become a band of misfits. At times unresponsive and half-hearted with fraying attentions and relationships, tempers begin to rise, especially with the introduction of an arrogant and selfish professional musician. Additionally, as the band continue to practice together Bonnie finds herself in a number romantic endeavours with members of the band, only adding to the tension between the members. On the other side in the ‘after’ sections, we see the deteriorating Bonnie desperately trying to cover up the murder. The sections are so brilliantly balanced as to give the reader as little information as possible but enough to make them desperate to keep reading on to find out what really happened in the little flat. The plot continues to weave in and out of the derailing characters, dreams and friendships and drags the reader on a journey that will leave them shocked and devastated as they turn the last page.

One tiny little quandary was that I disliked every single character in the book! It sounds terrible but each of the characters is universally un-likeable. Bonnie in both the sections was exhausting; in the before sections she sulks through the rehearsals unable to create the music or pull people together, and in the after she becomes a destructive force creating a depressive funk over the reader which at times became damn depressing. Bonnie’s ex-partner is equally cantankerous and ill tempered throughout the entirety of the book, whilst the father-and-son team squabble like teenagers throughout. However, in the end, it is the plot that holds the book together in its entirety. It instead doesn’t depend on the characters, but it is the incredibly well constructed plot that keeps the reader turning the pages; it is in this way that French manages to captivate the reader in this deadly book!