Book Reviews

Book Review: Kind of Cruel

…by Sophie Hannah.

Amber Hewerdine presents to a hypnotherapist Ginny Saxon. Much against her beliefs. However, it’s the last resort to help with her insomnia. Amber hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since the murder of her best friend Sharon two years ago. Despite her cynical view of her therapist, Amber finds herself drifting and then saying the words “Kind, Cruel, Kind of Cruel“. But what do those words mean? Amber has no idea. A few hours after saying this, Amber is arrested for a murder that occurred a couple of months ago. The murder of Katherine Allen. Amber has no idea who this person is and why those words were found at the crime scene. Nor does she know where she has seen the words before. As Amber sifts through her memories, her life is in danger the closer she gets to uncovering those. It also puts her husband Luke and Sharon’s children Dinah and Nonie who are now in her care in danger.
Could it also put the rest of the family in danger? Including Luke’s brother Neil, his wife Jo and their children?
Is there a connection between the murders of Sharon and Katherine despite the gap of time in between?
Why does Amber continue to be friends with Jo despite not liking her subtle criticisms of Amber?
Why did Jo disappear with her family on Christmas day in 2003? And why does she refuse to talk about it?
So many mysteries, so much to know. All you can do is read the book.
As always, Sophie Hannah keeps you guessing throughout the book. The chapters alternate between third person narratives for the detectives of Spilling, to first person narratives by Amber and the therapist, Ginny. There is a bit of psychobabble which I didn’t enjoy because it’s about hypnotherapy and the importance of feelings over thoughts which personally to me as a psychologist are not very evidence-based. However, she still keeps you intrigued as to whodunit. While you may have suspicions about whodunit, the motives behind them are completely unknown. And yes, while it may sound far-fetched in the end, Sophie Hannah has done her research into some psychological aspects to explain the same. I admire once again how she gets into the heads and psyche of her characters. This is possibly what makes her mysteries even more exciting.
Once again, like her other books, I’d recommend reading this one for a good psychological thriller. 
My rating:
***This book was originally reviewed over at Bond with Books***
Until next time,


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  • Seяendipity
    5 May 2012 at 10:00 am

    I’m gonna buy it. 🙂
    And how to update the status on the ‘GoodReads 2012 challenge’ ? I mean how does it get updated about how many books we have read ?

    • Psych Babbler™
      15 May 2012 at 11:36 pm

      Do…you’ll like it! And the Goodreads challenge updates on the website once you mark a book as read but on the blog, you need to keep updating the widget. Only just realised that after your comment!

  • Janine
    7 May 2012 at 1:13 pm

    I’ve never read one of her books and they sound right up my ally! Thanks for sharing.

    • Psych Babbler™
      15 May 2012 at 11:37 pm

      She’s definitely got some out there psychological thrillers which are enjoyable Janine…