Hurting Distance by Sophie Hannah

1384415.jpgFiction — print. Hodder & Stoughton, 2007. 408 pgs. Received from PaperBackSwap.

While I didn’t love Little Face, the first book by Hannah I’ve read, I liked it well enough to want to read another book by this author. She has a talent for turning ordinary crimes, ordinary thrillers into something more sinister, more physiologically upsetting that I find fascinating.

Three years ago, Naomi Jenkins was brutally raped by someone who knew her name, her car, her job, and her home address. She didn’t report it to the police, didn’t tell her best friend; the only thing she did was send a seemingly hostile message to Speak Out and Survive, an anonymous website for victims to post their stories.

Now, though, Naomi is willing to tell all because the police aren’t listening to her insistence that Robert, her married boyfriend, is missing. In order to gain the attention of the detectives, who are carry overs from Little Face, Naomi deluges every detail about the rape and blames it on Robert. After all, the police have to investigate and find a rapist, don’t they?

What Naomi doesn’t realize is that there are another women like her, women who went through the same traumatic experience, and the only thing the police are interested in is connecting the dots.

I had a hard time getting into Hurting Distance. The alternation from first-person point of view and the third-person point of view with the police, which I enjoyed in Little Face, was much hard to read this time. It felt clunky; it felt like the two narratives were never going to mesh.The detectives from Little Face reprise their roles in Hurting Distance, but I disliked each one of them instead of liking them as I did before. They didn’t feel like real people; at least not the real people I met before. And it’s almost imperative that one read Little Face before starting this one as their no descriptions of the detectives and you’ll constantly be asking yourself “Who’s Alice?”. I also didn’t really like Naomi, the character you’re supposed to root for. She was supposed to appear strong and demanding, but she just seemed whiny and clingy to me.

I would have given up on this one, but curiosity got the best of me; I wanted to know what happened to Robert and who raped Naomi. The outcome, though, was even more disgusting than anything “Law & Order: SVU” could ever throw my way.


  1. I loved Little Face, so find your review for this book very interesting. I found the detective scenes to be the weakest in Little Face, so am sorry to hear that they are worse in this one.

    I will read Hurting Distance at some point, as I already own a copy, but I’ll remember not to read it when I’m eating!


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