TITLE: THE POINT OF RESCUE
AUTHOR: SOPHIE HANNAH
PUBLISHER: HODDER & STOUGHTON
GENRE: CRIME FICTION
COVER TYPE: PAPER BACK
BLURB FROM THE COVER
Sally is watching the news with her husband when she hears a name she ought not to recognise: Mark Bretherick.
Last year, a work trip Sally had planned was cancelled at the last minute. Desperate for a break from her busy life juggling her career and a young family, Sally didn’t tell her husband that the trip had fallen through. Instead, she booked a week off and treated herself to a secret holiday. All she wanted was a bit of peace – some time to herself – but it didn’t work out that way. Because Sally met a man, Mark Bretherick.
All the details are the same: where he lives, his job, his wife Geraldine and daughter Lucy. Except that the man on the news is someone Sally has never seen before. And Geraldine and Lucy Bretherick are both dead…
‘Or your family’, the last three words are yelled, not spoken. As Pam elbows her way through the crowd in front of me, I hear nothing apart from that last part of viciousness, her after-thought. She made it four syllables instead of five: ‘Or your family’; four blows that thump in my mind like a boxer’s jabbing fist.
I really enjoyed The Point of Rescue. Hannah is a very well-known and successful poet. She’s a great poet. I’ve wanted to check out her fiction for a while. The Point of Rescue is a fast-paced thriller. It’s one of those books that yanks the reader in about a dozen different directions. Each page you read leaves you with questions and the more pages you read the more questions you have. Most of the questions are not answered until the end and when they are you feel like you have been hit by a sledgehammer.
I think the title of the novel is great. The Point of Rescue is one of those sort-of-but-not-really abstract titles I love so much. The title is the reason I picked it up in the library in the first place. I think it fits the novel perfectly.
I like the way Hannah structures The Point of Rescue. The point of view alternates between characters and also switches narrative style. Some chapters are from Sally’s perspective. These are written in the first person. The headings of these chapters are in long date format (i.e. Monday, 6 August 2007). The other chapters are from the point of view of various police officers investigating the death of Geraldine and Lucy Bretherick. These are written in the third person. The titles are in short date order (i.e. 7/8/07). This unusual structure works really well. I thought his was a good way to filter in all the plot threads and backstory without the reader getting lost. There are also occasional extracts from what appears to be Geraldine’s diary.
My head was filled with questions as I read The Point of Rescue. I would read a chapter and think why this? and why that? I would read another chapter and discover Hannah partly answers some questions and leaves me with half a dozen more. This made The Point of Rescue compelling reading. This drip-and-drab structure forces you to read on the point where all the little dots finally add up. I had some many theories about what was going on and felt sort of delighted when they all proved to be wrong. I love it when a writer takes me by surprise.
I was impressed by the originality of the plot in The Point of Rescue. Hannah offers us what appears to be a police investigation into a depressed woman’s murder of her young daughter and her subsequent suicide. The police believe this because of the diary they find on the woman’s computer indicate she was struggling with being a mother. They find no evidence to indicate someone else was involved. Just over hallway through The Point of Rescue, Hannah reveals part of the truth and knocks the wind out of her confused readers. She reveals some of the truth about the man Sally spent a week with who pretended to be Mark Bretherick. I was gobsmacked at the turn of events. I had barely recovered from this shock when Hannah pulled the same trick when she revealed the last few pieces of the puzzle. I had no idea what was really going on. I was impressed. There’s nothing worse, for me anyway, when you know who the bad guy is from page 2. The novel loses all point in that scenario.
I didn’t think the characterisation was great in The Point of Rescue. Some characters were great and others didn’t quite work. I felt the worst character was Sally. I just couldn’t like her at all. She was sort of a pain in the ass. The opening chapter is really weird with Sally having a spat in the street with her child-minder and then thinking someone tried to push her in front of a bus. I could never quite sympathise with her. I’m not sure why. I started to feel sympathy for her about halfway through when she crosses paths again with the fake Mark Bretherick. At this point it was too late to get completely on board with her. I also felt the same about the real Mark. He was so wrapped up in his work he had no real involvement in the life of his wife and child. I liked the other characters. I just felt the overall characterisation was a little disjointed.
Hannah is a good writer. The Point of Rescue held my attention from start to finish. I enjoyed every word. She does a great job of holding her reader’s interest, building tension and suspense, leading the reader down the garden path, surprising and shocking the reader in equal amounts. I was impressed with how much I enjoyed The Point of Rescue.
I thought The Point of Rescue was a great read. I definitely want to read more of Hannah’s fiction. She’s another name to add to my ever growing list of must read authors. I hope her other novels are as well-written and interesting. The Point of Rescue held my interest from start to finish. I sped read the last few chapters because I enjoyed the novel so much. The Point of Rescue ticks most of the boxes. The Point of Rescue is a good read.