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Posts Tagged ‘Nicci French’

I first saw a Nicci French book at the bookshop a few years back. I can’t remember which book it was. What I remember was that when I read the plot summary on the back cover, I found it quite gripping and I wanted to read the book. For some reason I didn’t get the book, but I made a mental note to read a Nicci French book when I was in the mood for a gripping thriller. Sometime back I was in a book sale and out of the rows and rows of books, out popped a Nicci French book trying to catch my attention. I thought I had waited long enough and got the book. I finished reading it yesterday. Here is what I think.

Catch Me When I Fall By Nicci French

‘Catch Me When I Fall’ is a story of two parts. But it is mostly about one person, Holly Krauss. Holly narrates the first part of the story, which runs to two-thirds of the book while her friend Megan narrates the second part. Holly runs a company with her friend Megan. They organize weekend retreats for corporates. The work is exciting and promising but it is still not making a lot of money. Holly is the creative, hot-blooded one while Megan is the calm mind of the partnership. Holly is married to Charlie who Megan also liked once upon a time. One evening after leaving work, Holly and Megan go to a bar with a client called Todd. Holly gets into an adventure there, while Megan and Todd leave. Holly hangs out with strangers then she goes bar hopping with one group of strangers and then another and then ends up in a stranger’s place at night. As she describes it :

 

After that, there are things I remember and don’t remember at the same time, like something happening to someone else, in a film or in a dream you know you’re having but can’t wake up from. Or, rather, it was like something happening to me, but I was someone else.

 

When Holly gets up the next morning she doesn’t even know which part of London she is in. She sneaks back home in the morning. At work, Megan realizes that something is wrong, but Holly doesn’t want to talk about it. Holly thinks that she went wild for a night and it won’t happen again. Unfortunately, it does. A few days later she catches up with an acquaintance and before she knows it she is in a house in the middle of strangers playing a poker game and she loses a huge amount of money. She doesn’t have the money to pay and the collectors start stalking her. It is even worse when the man she spent the night with, during her first wild adventure, also starts stalking her. When the wild side of her life crashes with a thud into her everyday safe boring life, Holly doesn’t know what to do. Her friends and her husband think that she has got a psychiatric problem. Her doctor says that she is a manic depressive. What happens next to Holly? Will she be able to come out of all this with her sanity intact? Did she just have a series of wild nights which got her into trouble or is she really a manic depressive? Or worse, is there a sinister plot afoot and does someone want to harm her? Can she trust herself and her near and dear ones? The answers to these questions form the rest of the story.

 

‘Catch Me When I Fall’ is a gripping fast paced novel. It kept me wanting to turn the page till the end. I don’t know how it is classified – probably as a psychological thriller – but for me it was difficult to classify because the portrayal of events was frightfully realistic because it could have happened to us or to anyone we knew. Holly’s manic depressive state is very realistically portrayed and when we read the first part of the book our hearts scale the highs and plumb the depths alongwith Holly. Holly was difficult to like in the beginning when she hurtles into one wild adventure after another putting herself and her near and dear ones into danger. After a while, though, I warmed up to Holly. Megan is a good counterpoint to Holly and her calming influence is beautifully portrayed in the second part of the story. I could more-or-less guess the surprise which is revealed at the end – in a thriller there are only so many suspects and the least suspected one is typically the bad person, this is what Dame Christie taught me – but it in no way diminished the enjoyment of the book.

 

And did I tell you that Nicci French is really the wife-and-husband couple Nicci Gerrard and Sean French? This must be one of the coolest partnerships in the literary world. And one of the very talented ones too – I checked out the plot summary of the other Nicci French books and they are all very captivating and make one want to pick them up and read them immediately. I can’t wait to read my next Nicci French book.

 

I will leave you with some of my favourite passages from the book.

 

That’s one of the things about life. The times you really want it to go well, it’s a disaster. When you don’t care, everybody loves you.

 

I’d written a ‘to do’ list that covered two sheets of paper. It was a mixture of calls to be made, messages to be written, meetings to be held, arrangements to be made, decisions to be taken, ideas to be had. It was like a malignant alien creature in an old science-fiction film. The more you chopped bits off, the larger and more aggressive it became.

 

It’s easier to think when you walk, and easier not to think, as well. You just stride along, your feet hitting the pavement and the cold air rinsing through you. You can see things without seeing them, hear them but take no notice.

 

The thing about an anaesthetic is that it doesn’t abolish pain. It just picks it up and puts it away in the corner where it doesn’t bother you. You can even feel that hurting is going on somewhere.

 

I also knew that every time we didn’t talk, putting off the hour of reckoning, delaying the explanations and the confessions, our relationships unravelled a little bit more, until there would be nothing left to knit up again, just a string of memories.

 

Have you read ‘Catch Me When I Fall’ or other books by Nicci French? What do you think about writing partnerships like theirs?

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