Title: Did You See Melody?
Author: Sophie Hannah
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pushed to the breaking point, Cara Burrows abandons her home and family and escapes to a five-star spa resort she can’t afford. Late at night, exhausted and desperate, she lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied – by a man and a teenage girl.
A simple mistake on the part of the hotel receptionist – but Cara’s fear intensifies when she works out that the girl she saw alive and well in the hotel room is someone she can’t possibly have seen: the most famous murder victim in the country, Melody Chapa, whose parents are serving life sentences for her murder.
Cara doesn’t know what to trust: everything she’s read and heard about the case, or the evidence of her own eyes. Did she really see Melody? And is she prepared to ask herself that question and answer it honestly if it means risking her own life?
Ahh, another release from one of my favourite authors – Sophie Hannah! I kept this until I knew I had some time to really get into it, and I wasn’t disappointed…
This is definitely an odd book in some ways. It starts out as something that seems very different – I felt almost as if I were reading a book you’d class as (and sorry for the annoying classification here) ‘chick-lit’, but then it suddenly becomes more of a mystery/ thriller.
Now, the main character Cara… I had mixed feelings about her. At first, I felt that she was just a bit of a demanding, selfish mother who’d ran off for a holiday away from her kids and husband (a holiday which, incidentally, cost a third of their life savings), and I can’t say I warmed to her, but as you learn more about the events that led her to run off to America to this five-star resort, you’re bound to feel more sympathy and understanding. She’s determined, inquisitive and, at times, quite amusing in her observations of other people around the resort. I enjoyed reading about her, and she lived up to the convincing, interesting characters which Sophie Hannah is so great at creating, as did Bonnie Juno – definitely a hard character to like, but an interesting one nevertheless!
The mystery around missing girl, Melody Chapa, is also rather strange and mysterious. I enjoyed the newspaper clippings and interviews which are interspersed with the plot, and ‘missing person’ cases always intrigue me. The plot didn’t feel too dark or gritty like some of her other novels (particularly the Simon Serrailer series which I love but which is definitely far more police procedural-based); instead it felt like a bit of a roller-coaster of adventure featuring an entertaining main character (Cara) as she tries to find out who she glimpsed that very first night, with the help of some entertaining ‘friends’ (I loved brash American Tarin and her daughter – they are so much fun, if a little off the wall!).
Did You See Melody is a fun, slightly wacky read which is very entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed it, from first page to last (great ending, too!).
Many thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for providing a copy of this novel on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.