cover image Kind of Cruel

Kind of Cruel

Sophie Hannah. Putnam, $26.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-670-78585-8

Hannah’s addictive seventh psychological thriller featuring husband-and-wife Det. Constable Simon Waterhouse and Det. Sgt. Charlie Zailer (after 2012’s The Other Woman’s House) explores the differences between feelings and memories. Insomniac Amber Hewerdine’s visit to a hypnotherapist in Silsford, England, leads to her involvement in the investigation of the murder of Katharine Allen, a primary school teacher. At the crime scene is a piece of paper with the enigmatic words of the title. Oddly, the police decide to treat Amber not as a suspect, but almost as a colleague. An earlier murder, by arson, of Amber’s best friend, raises the tension. Readers will begin to wonder how much of what the characters say can be believed. As Amber notes, “A connection in my mind isn’t the same thing as a connection in the real world.” The key to the mystery involves divining the meaning of the words on the piece of paper. A creepy subplot involves some of the most evil mothers in contemporary fiction. (Aug.)