As an introductory novel into a new series, this story performed its task very well. We got to meet and understand some of the demons that haunt the thirty-two-year-old Sam Smith, what motivated her into this particular line of work and what drives her. I particularly liked Howe's conversational style of writing and her subtle use of humour and direct comments to the reader. It is easy to read and totally relatable. This is a pleasurable read and one I could easily recommend for a cold, wet, winter's Sunday afternoon in front of the fire.
Howe had done a fantastic job of making her character, strong, yet vulnerable. It is easy to identify and empathize with her. Some of the other characters in the book could have been accused of being a bit stereotypical but it is the type of genre that does tend to lend itself to heavily drawn, stereotypical, characters, so no faults there.
I did find it to be a novel of two halves, the second half being more enjoyable, more relatable and more vivid than the first, which I did find perhaps a little too flouncy and puffed up although that perhaps had a lot to do with the characters in that part of the story.
I did enjoy the read and especially the more gritty, tough and realistic second part of the book. I am sure this book bodes well for the rest of the series and I look with interest to read the second installment of Sam Smith's adventures. An excellent start to the series and worth 4.5 stars, but brought down to 4 by the slightly lighter beginning.
You can check out all of Hannah Howe's work here: http://amzn.to/1Zzsceg