A Game For All The Family – Sophie Hannah

Published 13 August 2015 by Hodder and Stoughton


‘One of the great unmissables of this genre – intelligent, classy and with a wonderfully Gothic imagination’ – The Times

Justine thought she knew who she was, until an anonymous caller seemed to know better…

After escaping London and a career that nearly destroyed her, Justine plans to spend her days doing as little as possible in her beautiful home in Devon.
But soon after the move, her daughter Ellen starts to withdraw when her new best friend, George, is unfairly expelled from school. Justine begs the head teacher to reconsider, only to be told that nobody’s been expelled – there is, and was, no George.
Then the anonymous calls start: a stranger, making threats that suggest she and Justine share a traumatic past and a guilty secret – yet Justine doesn’t recognise her voice. When the caller starts to talk about three graves – two big and one small, to fit a child – Justine fears for her family’s safety.
If the police can’t help, she’ll have to eliminate the danger herself, but first she must work out who she’s supposed to be…

My thoughts

Sophie Hannah once again triumphs as the queen of quirkiness and off beat psychological crime in ‘A Game For All The Family’.

It all starts with a family relocating from London to a posh huge house in Devon. Justine Merrison, her daughter Ellen and husband Alex find themselves in the perfect location. Strange things start happening, like abusive phone calls to Justine and Ellen becoming obsessed with a boy, who according to her school does not exist. What on earth is going on? Justine is determined to get to the bottom of all of this.

At the same time, we have a story within a story. This is written by Ellen and we are slowly drip fed its contents. The Bascom family are an odd group of characters, who just grow in oddness over time. They define the word odd. Soon added to the mix is a touch of murder and intrigue.

Sophie Hannah is just clever at storytelling. She spins such a tale, that you don’t know what is real and what is made up and bafflement ensues. However at the same time, you are joining the dots and playing the game. I really don’t know how she does it.

This is one book you have to read at leisure, to appreciate the dark humour and the strange twists and turns. It all does come together beautifully at the end. So a little patience is needed, when the strangeness is cranked up to full volume.

I will not forget this book. It seems to defy sense at one point and then it all ends in a pretty straight forward way. I love a book like that.

Read this and lose yourself in the complexity and clever mind of Sophie Hannah. It is one I will have to read again!

Highly recommended.


 My thanks to the publishers for my beautiful review copy!

About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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4 Responses to A Game For All The Family – Sophie Hannah

  1. Kay says:

    Yes, I’ve got this one pre-ordered. Looking forward to it.

  2. crimeworm says:

    Must start this one!

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