My first encounter with the fiction of Nicci French was the superb Killing Me Softly, and I’ve read a number of the other French novels (‘Nicci French’ is, in fact, a husband and wife duo, Sean French and Nicci Gerrard). Their latest novel of psychological suspense, Complicit, has just been published, and I found it an excellent read.
The book is divided into past and present narratives, each told by a young music teacher, Bonnie Graham. The story set in the present recounts the bizarre sequence of events that unfolds once Bonnie finds the dead body of a man to whom she was very close (who is not identified to the reader for quite some time.) The ‘past’ narrative explains the events of a chaotic summer which led up to the man’s murder.
Bonnie is asked by a friend to play at her wedding, and so she forms a band that includes past, future, and would-be lovers. Her choice of fellow musicians is unwise in the extreme, as it turns out, and there were times when Bonnie’s folly irritated me intensely. Some of the events of the story are unlikely in the extreme, but the skill of Nicci French is to ensure that you suspend your disbelief because you do want to find out what has been going on, and how matters will be resolved.
At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to enjoy this story, but it soon had me hooked. The split story-line is handled adroitly, and you can never be quite sure what will happen next (although my rule of thumb was that Bonnie would mess up in some way, and she consistently lived up to these expectations!) If you like pacy suspense novels, I am sure you will find Complicit gripping. It's not a short book, but I devoured it ravenously.