Friday, 14 November 2014

A trick of the mind - Penny Hancock - flawed characters in a flawless story

From Goodreads: 

Have you committed a crime ...or are you the victim of one?

Driving down to the cottage in Southwold she's newly inherited from her Aunty May, Ellie senses she is on the edge of something new. The life she's always dreamed of living as a successful artist seems as though it is about to begin. So excited is she that she barely notices when the car bumps against something on the road.

That evening Ellie hears a news flash on the radio. A man was seriously injured in a hit and run on the very road she was driving down that evening. Then Ellie remembers the thump she heard. Could she have been responsible for putting a man in hospital? Unable to hold the doubts at bay, she decides to visit the victim to lay her mind to rest, little knowing that the consequences of this decision will change her life forever.

My Review

I loved this book, it was everything I look for in a twisty tale, with hidden secrets from the past emerging at every turn, flawed characters who turn out not to be everything they at first appear to be and a story that keeps you turning the pages. What more could you possibly want in a book? A cute loveable dog perhaps - it has that too in the ever present canine companion Pepper.

Like Penny Hancocks earlier novel, Tideline, the author draws on her own obvious connection with the river and her own experiences in life, working as a teacher to name just one, to ensure the settings and characters are strong and believeable.

In a Trick of the mind we meet Ellie as she is driving to the cottage she has inherited from her recently deceased Aunt, momentarily distracted whilst driving she bumps a tree branch, it's only upon her arrival at the cottage, when she hears on the news about a hit and run accident on the very stretch of road she has just driven, that she starts to believe it could have been her that caused the accident, knocked somone over in fact and things seem to begin to point the finger at this having been the case her wing mirror is smashed, she distinctly remembers a thud, a tree branch in the road - or was it? Is this just a trick of the mind?

However its also at this point we begin to view Ellie as being of a nervous disposition, she is a worrier and has little nervous quirks like always checking over her shoulder, three times, she is easily distracted and quite imaginitive, not a strong person its almost possible to wonder if she is quite right in the head.

As Ellie sets out to discover whether she has in fact been involved in a hit and run, we too wonder di she or didn't she? As she uncovers more about the evening in question it brings a new man into her life, Patrick. Recently out of a relationship herself her needy side comes even more to the fore, as does her need to atone and nurture and she finds herself falling in love.

As her life begins to change in many ways we see her make increasingly rash and foolish decisions and its only when the past begins to reveal the effects events have on shaping a persons personality that we realise the depths people can sink to.

Revealing many layers beneath the surface just like the river portrayed in one of Ellies paintings of water this book is perfect for the mystery lover who can suspend their belief that because they would never do something foolish nobody else would, the psychological chills are great and it never failed to enetertain me and keep me guessing. A real page turner with flawed characters in a flawless story. My grateful thanks to the folks at Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy to review - thus keeping me up until the early hours, reading just one more page!


  1. Great review, I love the sound of this one Jan

  2. Love the line -flawed characters in a flawless story. Sounds tempting.

  3. Sounds really good Jan, nice review. Thank you for commenting on my blog too much appreciated. x


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