Duplicity by Sibel Hodge

30848589There are three sides to every story: Yours. Mine. And the truth…

Max and Alissa have a fairy tale life—newlywed, madly in love and enviously rich. Then Max is brutally stabbed to death at their home and Alissa, miraculously, escapes with her life. But why was she spared?

The hunt for the killer begins, uncovering a number of leads—was Max’s incredible wealth the motive? Had his shady business practices finally caught up with him? Or was it a stalker with a dangerous obsession?

Devoted friends rally around gentle, sweet Alissa as she is left to mourn the loss of her husband and pick up her life. But not everyone is who they seem…Deep-rooted jealousies, secrets and twisted love lie just beneath the surface, and not all fairy tales have a happy ending.

Towards the end of last year I read some really positive reviews of Duplicity that meant I couldn’t resist picking a copy up.  I wasn’t disappointed – sometimes the case when you have high hopes for a book – as this was as good a read as others had promised.

It starts with the police being called to a homicide. The victim, Max, is a man who seems to have everything including money and the love of a beautiful young wife.  Married only weeks, Alissa is devastated by the death of her husband but also considered lucky – she escaped with her life.  Of course, it won’t be much of a life without Max and so it seems understandable to everyone around her when she withdraws from them, moving out of her family home and not returning phone calls.

Only one person isn’t convinced and that’s the Detective, DS Carter, who is investigating the case.  His gut instinct is that something is wrong.  Only he’s not sure what and he can’t get anyone else to believe him – especially not his boss, DI Wilmott, newly promoted and out to make name for himself.  Wilmott is also more than a little besotted with Alissa and convinced of her innocence. Like a dog with a bone, though, Carter can’t let go.

As a reader, you are left uncertain for the first third of the book whether Carter is right or just misguided by his intense disliking of his new boss and misjudging the situation as a result of too many sleepless nights – his wife has recently died of cancer and he feels very much alone.  You know something is going on because the killer is telling their story alongside Carter’s in alternating chapters.  But as you have no idea who the killer is you can’t really see how Carter can blame it on Alissa, other than his belief that she is too good to be true.

Plus, through his investigations, there seems to be plenty of other likely candidates – Alissa’s ex-boyfriend, Max’s best friend who might be in love with Alissa too, the best friends sister who was definitely in love with Max, and the residents of a development built by Max on the site of an old asbestos factory who are now unable to sell the homes which are making them ill (Max it seems wasn’t quite as perfect as people thought).

The second third brings a great twist to the story that leaves you in no doubt who the killer is and it isn’t something I saw coming, which is always the sign of a good story.  I won’t share it (spoilers) but will say it set a different tone for the rest of the book.  Knowing who the murderer was and wondering if they would get away with what seems like might be the perfect crime kept me turning the pages.

As in many of this genre, you have to suspend belief a little with the twist but I have to say I was o.k. with that because it was done so well.  In the hands of a less skilled writer, it might have all gotten a bit silly Sibel Hodge does a brilliant job and making it all seem real and reasonable.  I totally bought into what happened next.

It helps that Hodge also paints some great characters.  I especially liked Carter.  He was wounded and knew it but is unsure where to take his life.  He felt very human.  And he’s a good cop, though not one that plays by the rules.  He believes in right and wrong and seems to be a nice person, one you would want on your side. There is nothing better than finding yourself rooting for a character and wanting to get to know them more.

And, for a way to end 2016, there was nothing better than this book.  It was a clever plot, well written, and full of twists and turns.  I really, really, enjoyed it and will be reading more of Sibel Hodge – who I’ve not read before – going forward.




Source: Net Galley
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 27th December, 2016
Pages: 308
Format: eBook (Kindle)

Note: I received a copy of this book in return for a fair and honest review.  All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own. 



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