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    A confusing read

    When her ex-husband dies at a party, Elspeth isn’t sure who to trust. What has happened in her husband’s life since she left him and how well does she really know the people who surrounded him? The Octopus is an interesting murder mystery story and one that is set up differently from a usual take on the genre. The story is split between flashback and present storyline – in the first half of the book the flashback is the party when the murder happened and the present storyline is the police investigation. In the second half the flash back focuses on Elspeth’s marriage and the present is the memorial service and wake. This means a lot of the plot is kept from the reader and we find out details through slow reveal which works well although it did start to drag in places. This device actually confused the plot - particularly in the second half where I couldn’t really work out which party was being referenced. This was perhaps down to the formatting on the ARC and I hope that this is sorted for the final publication. There are some very dark themes explored in the second half of the book and I liked how this is not explored until you have already formed opinions on certain characters. This makes more of an impact when these views are challenged rather than giving you all the information from the outset. I liked the focus on the Octopus Persephone as well which really meant you suspected everyone! Other than Elspeth I didn’t really find myself drawn in or empathetic to any of the other characters though - they are all introduced so quickly in the initial party I found it hard to follow who was who for a while. Overall, The Octopus is an unusual thriller but lacked a certain spark with confusing time jumps and unlikeable characters. Thank you to NetGalley & Hodder & Stoughton for a chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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