I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Unheard by Nicci French
Published by Simon + Schuster UK on 16 September 2021
ISBN: 9781398514478
Genres: Fiction, Psychological
Pages: 461
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
three stars - REVIEW - The Unheard by Nicci French

'He did kill. Kill and kill and kill.'
Tess's number one priority has always been her three-year-old daughter Poppy. But splitting up with Poppy's father Jason means that she cannot always be there to keep her daughter safe.
When she finds a disturbing drawing, dark and menacing, among her daughter's brightly coloured paintings, Tess is convinced that Poppy has witnessed something terrible. Something that her young mind is struggling to put into words.
But no one will listen. It's only a child's drawing, isn't it?
Tess will protect Poppy, whatever the price. But when she doesn't know what, or who, she is protecting her from, how can she possibly know who to trust . . . ?
'What an intriguing, compelling page-turner. I ate it up in two days' Liz Nugent, author of Our Little Cruelties
'I love Nicci French's books, and with The Unheard they are right at the top of their game. Few crime writers can match their psychological acuity, of their ability to lead a reader through dizzying plot twists without ever losing pace. It's an absolute masterclass of crime writing' Kate Rhodes, author of the Locked-Island Mystery series
Praise for Nicci French:
'Confirms Nicci French as the giant of the genre' Erin Kelly
'Part ingenious locked-room mystery. Part you've-got-the-wrong-person nightmare drama. Part intricate memory game. Yet all seamlessly woven together. French's best book yet' A J Finn
'Expertly paced, psychologically sharp, thoroughly enjoyable' Louise Candlish
'Meticulously plotted, psychologically astute' Sarah Vaughan
'Great writing, razor-sharp plotting, and powerful characterisation. I was 100 pages in before I even drew breath, and I defy anyone to see the ending coming' Cara Hunter
'It's Nicci French perfection - which, as we all know, is the best kind of perfection. So, so gripping and brilliantly clued' Sophie Hannah
'A novel that blissfully plays with two genres: on the one hand an against-the-odds legal thriller à la John Grisham... and on the other a Miss Marple whodunnit' Sunday Times
'Nicci French husband-and-wife writing team responsible for some of the UK's best psychological thrillers have created a gem of a protagonist in Tabitha' Observer
'First-class' Independent
'Gripping' Literary Review
'Gritty and moving - the husband-and-wife team have scored another hit' Best
'A twisty and shocking read' Bella
'Engrossing' Good Housekeeping

The Unheard is a story that highlights just how one event can spiral your reality into utter chaos. This is a story that I wanted to love but a couple of things niggled me. Tess, the protagonist was very annoying, very. She came across as the jilted ex-girlfriend that couldn’t let go. Yes, she was investigating some troubling behaviour in her daughter, but she cared way too much about her ex-partner’s life and his extra marital activities. He was the past just move on and let him destroy yet another relationship. His loss. However, Tess did come across as very unstable.

Tess’s daughter, Poppy has come home from the pre-arranged weekend visit with her father, Jason. As Tess is going through her things, she pulls out a stack of drawings, many are forgettable but the last one is drawn in thick black lines and is very violent. It depicts the scene of a woman falling from a tower. It disturbs Tess and she immediately tries to talk to Jason about it. He dismisses it as the fanciful drawings of a child’s imagination and wants to hear nothing more about it. Tess is incessant with worry – she knows her child has witnessed or heard something damaging her mental health. It is merely the start of Tess’s spiral.

Poppy’s behaviour becomes even more erratic. She’s came out with extremely adult swear words and mentioned “did kill” “did die” why has she suddenly began saying these things? As a mother it would be concerning but, in this day, and age, unfortunately, children can pick things up in all manners of situations not all of them bad. Tess, however, is unwilling to let it drop and takes Poppy to a child therapist, he can’t say either way whether she has witnessed something bad or not. She then meets a woman in a café that seem to know her, it leaves her feeling disconcerted.

This woman that she had this strange encounter with turns up dead after falling from a tower block, a coincidence surely with Poppy’s drawing as she drew it before this even happened. Tess is adamant now that Poppy overheard someone. She blames every male she knows that is connected in some way to Poppy even her best friend’s husband. She’s acting paranoid and overprotective.

This one failed to really make an impact for me. I found the way in which the story unravelled to be quite improbable. I’m not sure any mother with the best of intentions would of added up the dots like that and arrived to the correct conclusion. I just found myself thinking “really”? it was all a bit farfetched for my liking.

three stars - REVIEW - The Unheard by Nicci French