Thursday, 13 August 2015

A Game For All The Family by Sophie Hannah

A Game For All The Family
By Sophie Hannah
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 978-1444776034

Publisher's description
Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better...After escaping London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine plans to spend her days doing as little as possible in her beautiful home in Devon. But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school. Justine begs the head teacher to reconsider, only to be told that nobody's been expelled - there is, and was, no George. Then the anonymous calls start: a stranger, making threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past and a guilty secret - yet Justine doesn't recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves - two big and one small, to fit a child - Justine fears for her family's safety. If the police can't help, she'll have to eliminate the danger herself, but first she must work out who she's supposed to be...

My verdict
I have just finished reading A Game For All the Family, having been glued to its 400+ pages for over three hours. I found it compelling and highly addictive. This is a psychological thriller about lies, deception and mysteries, so I shouldn't really be surprised that it keeps you guessing right until the end.

Justine, her husband Alex and daughter Ellen move from Muswell Hill in London to a beautiful mansion home in Devon. Soon after they arrive, Justine receives a series of threatening phone calls and 14-year-old Ellen starts writing a bizarre story of murder and revenge filled with even more bizarre characters. Then Ellen announces that her new best friend George has been expelled from school, even though the head teacher denies that George was ever a pupil there.

I spent most of the book completely baffled and just went with the flow. Sophie Hannah is a highly skilled author. She has a vivid way of writing that draws you into the plot, even if it doesn't seem to make any sense! I had no idea what was going on until the final few pages, when all of the pieces finally fit together.

A Game For All The Family is certainly one of the strangest psychological thrillers I have ever read. It's a mystery within a mystery, with many different layers that need to be peeled back before you realise what's going on. None of the characters are really likeable and most of them are completely quirky (or maybe just insane).

I have a feeling this will be an acquired taste - a so-called Marmite book that you will either love or hate. Yet I urge others to take the plunge, follow the clues from the beginning and see what's at the other end. This isn't a book that I will forget easily.

I received an Advance Reader Copy in exchange for an honest review.

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