Review by Zoe Cunningham
The Cruellest Game contains an important admonition. It’s one we should all know already, yet countless heroines of crime novels forget. Ladies if your husband works away from home a lot, never trust him. Call that emergency number he left you, cross check it with the company headquarters and never, ever let him manage your finances.
Hilary Bonner’s tenth novel continues her previous form in bestsellers No Reason to Die and When The Dead Cry Out. The book opens and continues with beautiful descriptions of Dartmoor and life in the West of England, no doubt reflecting the author’s personal experiences (Bonner was born in Bideford on the North Devon coast). Lovely local characters such as the practical vicar’s wife and strikingly smart lawyers add some comfort to an otherwise desperate scenario.
The story is fast paced – within ten pages we are confronted with the first death, the suicide (or is it?) of the protagonist Marion’s son. The plot is then revealed via the uncovering of various layers of deception by Marion’s husband, allegedly away at work on a deep sea oil rig for large parts of the year. Has he changed his name? Where does he get his money? And why does he react so badly to Marion’s best friend entering their house – what does he have to hide?
The Cruellest Game is a great read for lovers of crime fiction and thrillers, and finishes of course, with the compulsory twist at the end of the tale.