Title: The Narrow Bed
Author: Sophie Hannah
Page Count/Review Word Count: 408
I have mixed feelings about this book, because there’s a lot that I like and also a lot that I don’t. But on the plus side, it’s a crime novel and that’s what Sophie Hannah excels at, and so it could definitely be a lot worse.
We’re basically following the investigation into a serial killer that’s been nicknamed Billy Dead Mates because he always attacks pairs of friends. He also leaves behind little handmade books that include pairs of lines from poems about death by American poets with names beginning with E. Is there a clue there? Well, that’s for you to decide.
The funny thing about this book is that while it’s a stereotypical crime novel about a serial killer, it’s also kind of…not. Sophie Hannah is pretty good at taking the tropes of a genre and subverting them to create something that feels new, fresh and exciting, and this book is a great example of that.
I also thought that there was some interesting character work here, and while they’re not necessarily all likeable, they’re also not so unlikeable that it makes you want to put your fist through a window. It’s a winning approach which gives us some complex characterisation without making the whole book seem pointless due to an inability to actually relate to anyone.
Given that the rest of Hannah’s books are also in the same genre, I think I’m on to a winner here. I bought a job lot of her books and so I have two more of them to get to. I’ve enjoyed her two original standalones, and I’ve also enjoyed the Agatha Christie continuations that she worked on. That all bodes well for Sophie Hannah, who stands a good chance of becoming one of my favourite authors. Or at least in the top 20 or so.
All in all, then, I was pretty impressed with The Narrow Bed, and I think that if you’re a fan of crime in general then you’re going to enjoy this one. It’s also pretty easy to read with a smooth and sweet writing style that’s easy to read without feeling overwhelmed, and you can power through this one in a couple of days. So I think I’d have to recommend this one. Give it a go if you’re thinking of it.