Tuesday, May 24, 2016

A Game for All the Family by Sophie Hannah

Kerry Hammond is reviewing the latest standalone suspense novel by British author Sophie Hannah. Mystery fans will recognize Sophie as the woman who the Christie family chose to write the most recent sequels to the Agatha Christie novels. The next Agatha Christie sequel authored by Hannah, Closed Casket, is due this September. And now our review of A Game for All the Family. 

A Game for All the Family is the latest standalone novel by Sophie Hannah and it releases in Hardcover today, 2016, from publisher William Morrow. I am a big fan of Hannah’s work and I love both her standalone novels as well as The Monogram Murders, the first of her books to feature Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. I was eager to get my hands on her newest novel.

I always pause at this very same spot in a review of a Sophie Hannah novel. I stare at my laptop screen, wondering how in the world to give a succinct summary of the book so that readers can get an idea of what it’s all about. 

The reason that I pause has everything to do with Hannah’s skill as a storyteller. Each and every one of her books has such a simple, yet extremely complex plot. Her stories are about everyday people and everyday, albeit strange, events. 

But these events are woven with such expertise that each one adds to the one that came before it. The reader follows along the intricate plot, taking in all the twists and turns, enjoying the unfolding of each piece. Then someone asks, “what’s the book about?” You pause, wondering where to even begin. Rather than tell you to just blindly read the book (although I think you should do just that) I will attempt to entice you with Hannah’s latest story by giving you a few tidbits of information.

A Game for All the Family is a story about a husband, wife, and their daughter who are moving from London to the countryside. The reason for the move is that said mother has given up her job in television because of a huge incident that led to a falling out, that led to her new quest to do absolutely nothing. Their new life in their new house could have been idyllic, were it not for the telephone calls from a stranger who claims to know the mother, threatening her if she doesn’t leave. Equally disturbing is the murder mystery story that the daughter is writing for a school project. A story whose characters’ names are distinctly out of the ordinary and whose setting is the family’s new home. The story’s author, the thirteen-year-old daughter of the family, is depressed when her new best friend George is expelled from school, but when questioned the school denies any existence of a boy named George. Rather than revel in her dream of doing absolutely nothing, the mother finds herself trying to piece together what is happening to her family, why the school claims no knowledge of her daughter’s friend, who is calling and threatening her, and why she continues to get strange feelings about an address they passed on their move to their new home.

Sophie Hannah is a gifted storyteller, so much so that I will read any book she writes without even reading the dust jacket. I know that when I pick up one of her books I will be transported into a fictional world that she has created, one that will be wonderfully entertaining. She creates characters that are, on the surface, everyday people. She makes them seem so real that you swear they are like you or me. You sometimes can even imagine you’ve met someone like them before. She then puts them into circumstances that will have you wondering, what would I do if that happened to me? When she shows you what actions her characters take, she leads you down the storyteller’s path to the outcome of those actions. The ride from beginning to end is always a good one.

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review is fair and independent. 

1 comment:

  1. Hannah is at the top of her game for sure. I see why the Christie estate picked her!