Keep Her Safe by Sophie Hannah

Hardcover September 2017
Reviewed by Richard Goldman


A woman arrives from England at the Phoenix airport. When her rental car is delivered she hands her mobile phone to the delivery driver and pays him $50 to keep it until she drops the car off two weeks later.

As usual in a Sophie Hannah novel we have absolutely no idea what is going on and that is surely the draw of her brilliantly constructed novels of psychological suspense. Keep Her Safe continues the tradition by keeping you feverishly turning pages to find out what happens next.

A woman arrives from England at the Phoenix airport. She gives her mobile phone to the man who drops off her rental car and pays him to keep it and return it to her when she departs the US.

The women is Cara Burrows and she's fled her husband and children due to some sort of domestic problem which she hopes to think through during a vacation at a luxury resort, Swallowtail, near Camelback Mountain. A quick aside: I would be happy to spend the rest of my life at this amazing resort where everyone falls all over themselves to satisfy your every whim. But I digress. When Cara checks in she is directed to a room that is already occupied by a man and a teenage girl. That problem is sorted by her upgrade to an fantastic cottage-room with its own pool. Next morning she overhears a guest telling the desk clerk that she's spotted a young girl, Melody Chapa, at the resort--a girl supposedly killed eight years earlier. A murder for which her parents are still serving time. Soon Cara's own suspicions are aroused and we are off on a classic Sophie Hannah plot.

I'm not going to spoil things by talking anymore about the plot but there are some wonderful characters including a Nancy-Grace-like TV host of a true crime show whose relentless coverage of the Melody Chapa case led eventually to the parents as the killer. More sympathetic are Tarin Fry, a brash, smart-mouthed hotel guest who is accompanied by her tart-tongued teen daughter Zellie. These two are among the most amusing parts of the book and I'd actually like to see them brought back in a subsequent novel.

You'll move smoothly through the twists and turns of this breathless thriller as you speed towards the rather unexpected conclusion. A delightful read.