The Point of Rescue by Sophie Hannah Hodder & Stoughton, HK$214 Sophie Hannah's first novel, 2006's Little Face, was a rare thing in modern publishing: a debut from an unknown author that didn't win any prizes or garner the endorsement of a TV chat show, yet still became a best-seller - the book succeeded simply because of the quality of the writing. Her second thriller, Hurting Distance, was also the recipient of much critical acclaim. So will her fan base increase again with The Point of Rescue? Undoubtedly. Hannah says she '[loves] mystery novels in which the reader cannot even begin to work out what might have happened' and that's exactly what she's created in The Point of Rescue. It's a novel for which the expression 'page-turner' seems to have been invented. Sally Thorning, harassed mother of two, is watching the news with her husband: a woman and her daughter have been found dead in their bathroom. The father, Mark Bretherick, is the chief suspect. With a jolt, Sally realises the man on the television is not Bretherick and, worse, she's going to have to keep it to herself. The previous year, Sally was to have gone on a week-long business trip. It was cancelled but, exhausted by motherhood and her career, she kept the cancellation a secret and set off alone on a spa holiday. Except that Sally ended up having much more than massages and saunas. She fell for the charms of Mark Bretherick, a man who at that point had a wife and a daughter. And so starts a journey of deceit and danger, which brings Sally in contact with evil on a scale she could never previously have imagined. The pages are heavily populated with liars and the deluded; Hannah returns time and time again to clashes between appearance and reality, leaving the reader suspended in a frail web of half-truths. High on psychological intrigue, The Point of Rescue is a superbly chilling mixture of middle-class domesticity and police procedural. Hannah's characterisation is perfect, and she's riveting on the dark secrets of motherhood: a horrible warning emerges with regard to the stories we tell about ourselves. Occasionally details in the plot are unconvincing but the reader is so thoroughly swept along by the narrative that it doesn't matter. Hannah is a poet but thankfully hasn't indulged herself with literary flourishes. The lucid style of The Point of Rescue is just one of the elements that make it far better than many other books of its genre. This is a deliciously thrilling novel with a plot so twisted you'll feel dizzy.