Hurting Distance -- Sophie Hannah
‘Love is blind’. A cliché. Overused adage. But there are people going great lengths to exemplify the same. Hurting Distance is an example of the same. How people go to any lengths for love, fall in the process, make mistakes but still (somehow) manage to believe in the power of love.
Naomi Jenkins is a professional sundial maker and runs her own business. She’s a beautiful and successful woman, who has loving boyfriend. Although he’s married to someone else, she loves him to pieces and believes them to be soul mates. From the outside her life looks just perfect. But if the top layer of her seemingly perfect life is scratched, a different story is revealed. Robert, her boyfriend, is married there is a limit to when and where they meet. They meet once a week, without fail, in a hotel room. This continues for a couple of months. But one day he misses their weekly plan and there is no contact from him, henceforth. Naomi is dead sure that something has happened to her lover as he wasn’t someone who would bail out on her or someone who would go against a plan, being the perfectionist and methodical guy he was. She approaches the police to file a missing person's report, but they brush away the case saying that the man must have chosen his wife over his mistress and just moved on with is life without feeling the need to inform her. Call it a lovers’ bond or intuition, something assured Naomi that something was amiss. With police not believing her, she comes up with a plan which came with a necessity of digging deep in the well buried past and exposing her skeletons. But for Robert, she was willing to go down the hurtful lane. She tells a story which promptly puts the police on their feet, and they start their search for the missing Robert. Charlie, the cop leading this case had her own share of painful past. The ‘search’ unravels dirty and unpleasant secrets of a lot of people. All their lives intertwine and a dirty picture is slowly painted. Did Robert’s wife find out about his extra marital affair and hurt him in the process? Why did Naomi go to such extreme lengths and what story did she tell cops? Was she the only one with an unmentionable past? What did Charlie’s and Naomi’s life have so much in common in the end? You need to pick up the book to find the answers.
The narrative style of the book is pretty interesting. Though some readers might find it a little confusing, but once you get the hang of it, you might like it. While Naomi addresses her story to Robert, Charlie and the cops’ narrative is directed towards the readers. The narration between the two alternate throughout the book. It starts of at a good pace but towards the end the story starts crawling. There are a few ‘shock’ and ‘surprise’ moments but, unfortunately, they last for a short period of time. If you pay attention at the little hints thrown here and there, you might easily figure out the ending. This is where the mystery loses its essence, and it becomes just another crime novel. This is the second book in the series of three. This novel had a ‘movie like’ feel to it. While reading the novel, you’ll feel like you are watching a movie. And probably it might make a good movie too. It might stir up a few more emotions than what the book minutely managed. What started as a really gripping read turned into a disappointment. The magic somehow waned off midway. It is written in a very simple manner and makes it an easy read. Some brownie points earned there!
If you are looking to pass a lazy afternoon with an easy read and like crime thrillers with an average plot, you might want to pick it up.
P.S : There are really graphic and unpleasant details in the story. This might disturb a few. Though it lasts just a few pages, it might leave a bitter taste.