Internationally bestselling author Sophie Hannah seeks to take create an American audience with this terrific conundrum of a mystery/thriller that will have the reader guessing at every turn.
Originally published in the UK as The Other Half Lives, the US release entitled The Dead Lie Down presents a unique plotline. A young British couple, Ruth Bussey and Aidan Seed, have found each other and worked to heal scars from pasts that nearly destroyed each. Ruth confesses her dark and tragic past to Aidan and asks him to openly share his own prior transgressions. Ruth is shocked to hear Aidan confess to the murder of a woman named Mary Trelease several years earlier. Ruth’s shock is not due to the fact that her current boyfriend may be a murderer but more to the fact that she knows Mary Trelease - and she is very much alive.
Hannah’s crisp, mysterious writing jumps between Ruth and Aidan and Sergeant Charlotte “Charlie” Zailer and DC Simon Waterhouse, the police on the trail of the mystery murder to which Aidan has alluded. Much of the secret to the ‘murder’ of Mary Trelease lies in the art world. Aidan is a painter, as is Mary Trelease. Ruth Bussey conducts her own investigation into her boyfriend’s mysterious allegation by befriending the woman she knows to be Mary Trelease - herself an artist, as well - and attempts to tie together the loose ends of her relationship with Aidan Seed and why he would claim to have committed a murder that did not actually take place.
The story is surreal, and to delve much deeper into the various plot-lines would reveal too much. Leave it said that Sophie Hannah has created an outstanding psychological puzzler of a novel that calls to mind the work of authors like Robert Goddard and Kate Atkinson, masters of stripping away bit by bit of the plot and the characters involved to reveal a denouement that usually takes the reader completely by surprise.
I am hopeful that Sophie Hannah will find an American audience with the release here of The Dead Lie Down, because she is clearly a writer to watch out for.