What’s it all about?:
Pushed to the breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl.
A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.
Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?
What did I think?:
First of all, thank you so much to the lovely people at Hodder & Stoughton publishers for sending me a copy of Sophie Hannah’s latest stand-alone work of crime fiction in exchange for an honest review. I have to admit, I have tried Sophie Hannah’s very early novels a long time ago and whilst I enjoyed them I haven’t felt compelled to keep up with what she’s writing. Until now. Now I’m just thinking perhaps I wasn’t in the mood when I last read a novel by her because it’s as clear as day that she writes such a compelling and fascinating narrative which it’s hard to find any fault with. It’s actually made me more determined to go search out her previous novels and catch up on a great author’s work that I’ve obviously been missing out on.
I understand that Sophie Hannah has published a number of novels as part of a series (Waterhouse and Zailer) but Did You See Melody is a stand-alone story whose synopsis instantly appealed to me (as well as the fact that I’m a bit of a stickler for reading things in order, even when it doesn’t really matter!). Our main character is Cara Burrows who travels to Arizona from England after having some family problems and checks into an exclusive spa for rest, relaxation and to get her head together and figure out what she’s going to do next. While she is there, she is mistakenly checked into a room that already has occupants – a middle-aged man and what seems to be his teenage daughter.
Next, Cara finds out about an old case involving a young girl called Melody Chapa, who was thought to have been murdered by her parents, currently serving a sentence in prison as a result. Before long, Cara realises that the girl she saw in the room could actually be Melody and, if this is the case, why exactly do people think that she is dead? Why is there so much secrecy if she is in fact alive and well? Why are her parents serving time? Furthermore, there seems to be a dangerous plot afoot that could threaten the well-being of anyone who admits to having seen Melody and Cara suddenly finds herself in very real and terrible danger.
This novel had me hooked almost instantly. Cara has her own little back story about why she comes to Arizona and what exactly she is fleeing back home and of course, I was insanely curious to find about her life and what has gone so horrifically wrong for her that she has to leave her husband and two children behind without any warning. Then there is Melody and all the mystery surrounding her situation. Desperate to understand what was going on, I couldn’t help but frantically turn the pages (and probably made it through the novel in record time as a result!). I’m also delighted that although I kind of guessed the perpetrators of the crime, I definitely didn’t envisage all the mini twists and turns that encompassed such a fascinating and exciting story. I’m so glad I gave this novel and Sophie Hannah another go, her back catalogue is now one hundred percent on my radar and I can’t wait to get started!
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):