Astrid Bell is een jonge, sterke Londense fietskoerier die niet goed weet wat ze met haar leven wil. Ze woont samen met zes vrienden, maar langzamerhand valt de groep uiteen door geldproblemen, verraad, nieuwe liefdes en uiteenlopende toekomstplannen. Dan sterven er twee vrouwen, en de enige overeenkomst tussen de twee moorden is de aanwezigheid van Astrid. Zodra de situatie grimmiger wordt en de huisgenoten verder uit elkaar groeien moet zij zich afvragen: is het mijn schuld, ben ik zelf in gevaar? Is er een moordenaar binnen de groep? Onder bizarre omstandigheden wordt uiteindelijk een verdachte opgepakt en een verklaring gevonden. Maar is deze persoon daadwerkelijk schuldig? Het ligt eraan hoe de lezer het interpreteert. Het verhaal is nog niet voorbij, het moet opnieuw worden verteld. En de tweede keer is het nog angstaanjagender... Tot het voorbij is is een thriller over vriendschap en begeerte, over afstand nemen en volwassen worden, over de schuldige vinden terwijl iedereen door schuld wordt omringd.
Nicci Gerrard was born in June 1958 in Worcestershire. After graduating with a first class honours degree in English Literature from Oxford University, she began her first job, working with emotionally disturbed children in Sheffield. In that same year she married journalist Colin Hughes.
In the early eighties she taught English Literature in Sheffield, London and Los Angeles, but moved into publishing in 1985 with the launch of Women's Review, a magazine for women on art, literature and female issues.
In 1987 Nicci had a son, Edgar, followed by a daughter, Anna, in 1988, but a year later her marriage to Colin Hughes broke down.
In 1989 she became acting literary editor at the New Statesman, before moving to the Observer, where she was deputy literary editor for five years, and then a feature writer and executive editor.
It was while she was at the New Statesman that she met Sean French.
Sean French was born in May 1959 in Bristol, to a British father and Swedish mother. He too studied English Literature at Oxford University at the same time as Nicci, also graduating with a first class degree, but their paths didn't cross until 1990. In 1981 he won Vogue magazine's Writing Talent Contest, and from 1981 to 1986 he was their theatre critic. During that time he also worked at the Sunday Times as deputy literary editor and television critic, and was the film critic for Marie Claire and deputy editor of New Society.
Sean and Nicci were married in Hackney in October 1990. Their daughters, Hadley and Molly, were born in 1991 and 1993.
By the mid-nineties Sean had had two novels published, The Imaginary Monkey and The Dreamer of Dreams, as well as numerous non-fiction books, including biographies of Jane Fonda and Brigitte Bardot.
In 1995 Nicci and Sean began work on their first joint novel and adopted the pseudonym of Nicci French. The Memory Game was published to great acclaim in 1997 followed by The Safe House (1998), Killing Me Softly (1999), Beneath the Skin (2000), The Red Room (2001), Land of the Living (2002), Secret Smile (2003), Catch Me When I Fall (2005), Losing You (2006) and Until It's Over (2008). Their latest novel together is What To Do When Someone Dies (2009).
Nicci and Sean also continue to write separately. Nicci still works as a journalist for the Observer, covering high-profile trials including those of Fred and Rose West, and Ian Huntley and Maxine Carr. Novels include Things We Knew Were True (2003), Solace (2005) and The Moment You Were Gone (2007). Sean's last novel is Start From Here (2004).
AUTHOR’S RISKY TAKE ON STORY TELLING METHOD DOESN’T PAN OUT 2.75/5
A delivery bicycler lives in London with her 6 roommates. The first dead body was someone she had encountered just the night before. Then a second dead body was someone she discovered while delivering a package. Then there is a third dead body. And the only connection the police see is her!
This story is told in 2 parts. The first part follows the delivery bicycler from the beginning to after the third murder. The second part then rewinds; starts at the beginning again. However, this time it is from the killers POV, whose identity the author reveals immediately in the second part. The reader remains with the killer’s POV up until the end of the book. Then followed by a brief epilogue.
I found this story telling method to be a huge risk by the author. Unfortunately, one that did not pay off. Revealing the killer halfway into the book. Along with a 400 plus page book, for which the first 200 pages are essentially copied and pasted into the last 200 pages. That is a bit of an over generalization, but not terribly so. There are certainly some differences since it is from the killer’s point of view. We do gain insight into some other interactions he had outside of the main character and of course how the murders themselves took place. I think it was meant to create a new and interesting experience for the reader, but unfortunately there was no reward for the risk. As the reader I felt like I was being forced to re-read what I had just read, and that was simply confusing and a bit boring. When you finally reach the epilogue, you have lost any engagement you had with the other characters and ultimately receive an anticlimactic ending.
This review is difficult for me to write, as I am a long-time fan of the duo-authors Nicci French. Especially French’s Freida Klein series, which is one of my favorites. Nicci French is a master of character development and drama suspense building. The writing is typically lovely and has always pulled me in. So, it is with a heavy heart that I review this most recent novel and must be honest by saying it was underwhelming, lacked character development and was overall anticlimactic.
That said, I will definitely not be giving up on Nicci French. I will still be just as excited to get my hands on any new work in the future!
*Thank you to HarperCollins via Edelweiss+ for the digital review copy
A stand alone novel by the husband and wife team Nicci Gerard and Sean French.
Astrid Bell is a young woman living in London who has struggled to move on in life since leaving university. She is currently employed as a bike messenger and sharing a house with her friend Pippa, Miles who owns and some other tenants.
Astrid has an accident on her bike when a neighbour opened her car door without first looking. Astrid is not seriously hurt and is aided by her housemates but is far more shaken later when the same neighbour is found dead outside her house by the dustbins. Things go from bad to worse when Astrid goes to collect a parcel from another neighbour and discovers her dead in the hallway to her house. The police are obviously interested and question Astrid concerning both of the suspicious deaths.
Meanwhile Astrid is now in danger of being evicted when Miles girlfriend Leah wants to get rid of all the tenants so that her and Miles can have the house to themselves. This obviously causes friction between the tenants and they all try to negotiate with Miles for compensation for leaving under such circumstances. But it is the third death that has the biggest impact directly on the tenants. The book then changes and the story is told by the killer building up to a thrilling climax to the story.
This is an exciting story that is a little different to the normal run of the mill psychological thrillers, nicely written, plenty of action and some interesting character.
I can honestly say I’ve been a Nicci French (husband and wife team, Sean French and Nicci Gerrard) fan for over a decade, but I may have to quit them after reading Until It’s Over.
Astrid Bell is in her early 20s and works as a bike messenger in London. She lives in a huge house with university pals Pippa and her former boyfriend (and owner of the house) Miles. They share the space with Mick, Dario, Davy and Owen. They’re a family, in a sense.
Until It’s Over opens with an accident. Astrid is riding home from work and is almost at her house when someone opens their car door and Astrid goes flying off her bike. The woman in the car is a neighbour and she’s mortified at the accident she’s caused. Astrid is unhurt except for minor cuts and bruises. But later, the woman turns up dead. And hers is just the first murder connected to Astrid Bell.
Until It’s Over is supposed to be a mystery. About two thirds of the way through, though, the narration changes. Instead of following Astrid’s first person narration, we suddenly find ourselves in the killer’s head. I guess this was so we could understand their motivation. Um. The killer is Crazy.
Nicci French is usually such a dependable author -books that are page turning, psychologically complex and fun. Until It’s Over was none of those things. I didn’t believe in (or care about) any of the characters. It wasn’t suspenseful. I often felt myself shaking my head in disbelief at the way characters interacted each other in a sort of oh please way.
I think if you’ve never read Nicci French – you absolutely should. But don’t read this. Read Killing Me Softly (which remains my favourite) or The Safe House.
I liked this story, but didn't particularly care about the characters - and there were many of them. The second half of the book threw me out and as a writer myself, I felt it was a bit of a cheat to retell the same story from the murderer's viewpoint. I think I would've included the murderer's viewpoint at the same time as the original storyline, leaving the reader in suspense as to who the murderer is until the end.
I found the ending disappointing because the epilogue jumps too far ahead without revealing any new information. I felt that the story might've worked better if it had ended with the final arrest and without an epilogue.
That said, I enjoy reading [and learning:] from Nicci French novels. I'm intrigued with Nicci & Sean's [husband and wife:] working relationship - particularly as my hubby and I write together too.
This was an early Nicci French, the writing duo behind a marvelous crime fiction series that is, sadly, complete.
The first half or so is in the POV of a bike messenger who keeps finding dead bodies and living the increasingly chaotic life of large house of disparate roommates whose drama is inflamed by the implications of the murders.
The last part of the book retraces much of the territory of the first half, only in the POV of the perpetrator.
Despite a slow leak of interest while old ground is plowed from a different perspective, and a lack of surprise around the eventual climax, this works pretty well. It’s always a treat to read smart, high quality writing by this team, even when it’s an early work that hadn’t quite matured to the level of their newer work. I enjoyed this.
3,5*. Dit boek bestaat uit drie delen. Het eerste deel vond ik het beste om te lezen. Daarna wordt het een beetje minder. Op zich is het zeker geen onaardig verhaal, maar het viel me persoonlijk een beetje tegen.
Astrid Bell is a cycle courier living in a house with an eclectic group of 6 other housemates in London. Two murders within a short space of time... there's only one thing that links them... Astrid!
I'm a big fan of the husband and wife writing team that is Nicci French, because they do mystery, suspense... and modern London so well. In this book, which I have astonished myself by reading 3 times they turn the London flat share to little piece of Hell, as secrets, lies, lusts, recriminations and murders plural tear down the flimsy walls of flatmate friendships. Yes, there are forensic and character fails in the story, but it makes a good immersive read nonetheless. 7 out of 12 (same rating for my 2014 reread).
Astrid Bell seems to be a bad luck omen, first the London cycle courier is knocked off her bike by neighbour Peggy Farrell - who is soon found dead in an alley. Then a client for the courier company that Astrid is scheduled to visit is too found murdered. Surely it’s too much of a coincide?
A really gripping thriller as suspicion flux between Astrid and her six other houses mates.
Nicci French always does a good psychological thriller but this one didn't seem as tense as previous ones I have read. I wasn't overly bothered about the characters, it seemed like there were a couple too many to actually get to know them.
The book is essentially in tow halves. The first half is the story of Astrid, a bike courier who is linked to three murders, although she didn't commit them she just kept finding the bodies! The second half is a retelling of the same story but through the eyes of the murderer, starting with revealing who it is. So halfway through you already know who did it and you are just getting the explanation of why and how.
I have another of her books on my to-read pile, I hope it is better than this one.
Could not finish this book. In fact, I gave up after 50 pages. The premise is interesting but the writing is bland and generic. Weirdly so, as if the text was written by a computer. The author's blurb indicates Nicci French is actually two people - a husband and wife writing team. Not surprising, as this feels as though it were written by committee. The prose is completely devoid of style. The words make sense and it is grammatically correct - it is just lifeless, bloodless.
Pretty much a guaranteed good read. Starts off with a bang: a bike crash. Wince.
The Nicci French team produces consistently engrossing thrillers, fast moving, sexy, but with strong women who may be attacked, but aren't victims. The sudden shift in point of view was effective, and the ending was satisfying.
Ja oké, ik heb echt wel betere boeken van hun gelezen. Als je eigenlijk twee keer precies hetzelfde beschrijft maar dan vanuit andere perspectieven is het allemaal niet super interessant. En het einde/plot was veel te voorspelbaar.
This book did not come up to scratch. The first part is told by Astrid describing how she finds three dead women. The second part consists of the same events, but told by the killer. Then in the last 10 pages Astrid entraps the killer, he gets arrested and Astrid lives happily ever after with a brand new lover. No explanation as to how or why Astrid and the police became suspicious of the real killer in the first place when they already had somebody in custody with evidence galore. I was hovering between two and three stars, but then thought that experienced crime writers like this should do better and their fans deserve better. So two stars it got. I have read a lot of Nicci French novels and I find them becoming increasingly disappointing.
Thriller without thrills. First half is written from the perspective of Astrid - the girl that is somehow connected with all the victims - and second half is following the same events but is written from the perspective of a murderer. So the mystery is revealed pretty quickly and then you are forced to re-read everything with a slight change of perspective to check if murderer was caught or not. The first part isn't even that good to justify reading it all over again - there are moments when the plot starts dragging so there is a sudden sex scene/next body found insertion that feel very abrupt and out of blue. There are better thrillers out there so why waste your time on this one?
It took me a while to get into it but with expected psychological suspense it really kicked in.
(Sorry to anyone who saw that before I edited out my typos. My vision is poor enough these days that I cannot always see the letters, but wanted to at least try for a personal reaction. Now you know why I use audiobooks.)
According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, jinx is someone or something that causes bad luck; also: a state or period of bad luck caused by a jinx. British dictionaries call it an Americanism and basically hope that it is a condition that affects others. The Thesaurus lists as synonyms: hex, charm, enchantment, condemn, hoodoo, nemesis, bewitch, plague spell, voodoo, black magic, evil eye and kiss of death. I call it Astrid Bell. The writing tandem of Nicci Gerrard and Sean French has done it again! Astrid Bell is a young and athletic London cycle courier that has bad luck. This applies not only to herself but especially for the people around her. After suffering a biking accident, the woman that inadvertently opened her car door without looking, turns up murdered a few paces from Astrid’s house. This is soon followed by the gruesome murder of a client and then they get even closer. Are these related or just random acts; is it a complot or just bad luck? The reader is sent on a trip through the streets on London and the lives of many interesting and forgettable people. The authors relate the mundane daily life, actions and interactions of a group living under the same roof in the heart of London. This writing duo once again applies (also used in Catch Me If You Can) the writing no no of starting in the first person form of one character, only to change it halfway through to another one. This does give them the ability to examine each one minutely although it tends to sometimes be confusing. This is not only a book of death and murder but also one of life and hope. This book is one for the masses and I highly recommend it.
I found this book by sheer luck on discount at BAM and am so glad that I did. Very rarely does a written story have so many characters that you really get to KNOW during the course of a novel. You don't just know your protagonist or antagonist, every character is crucial. The characters are pieced together with many layers thus making them more real, more believable on a large scale. The story. I absolutely tore through this book like my life depended on it. The questions that arose were not always quickly answered nor were they what you would expect. I stayed on the proverbial edge of my seat throughout this story. The descriptions were simple and realistic and I am still overwhelmed by the final outcome. I LOVE that you don't have to wait until the END of the book to know what is truly happening.
2/3 of the way into the book you will either be shocked or angry. Probably both. The glimpse into the mind of our villain is disturbing and fascinating.
I don't have time to express all of the good feels I have for this book nor do I want to spoil it for anyone. I've recommended it for years and will continue to do so. If you want a novel that grabs your attention and refuses to let you go, this is the novel for you.
This is the first book by this author that I've read and I enjoyed it. A lot of reviewers for this book state this isn't the best Nicci French book so I am encouraged because I enjoyed this one. It's of course a murder mystery set in London and there is a house full of people who we figure are the most likely to have done the crimes. I couldn't figure out exactly who might have done it until it was revealed to us... at about 2/3 into the book the POV changes from Astrid to the murderer. At that point we go back and in an abridged way we get the story over again but from this new POV. I didn't really like this, it was at this point that I felt a little bored during parts. It might have been better to alternate between the two POV's throughout the book instead of going through it all again toward the end.
There was only one other thing that kind of bothered me, I wouldn't say Astrid was TSTL (to stupid to live) but I felt she was way too unconcerned about the situation at times, like she didn't really grasp the severity of her dilemma, but that was only in a few places.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and I will try another book by this author.
This was an interesting experiment in form, with the POV shifting about 2/3 of the way through the story. Unfortunately, the reveal comes quickly after, with the result that the later chapters are just a rehash of the narrative that add little to the story or character. The shift allows for explanations, but the creepy tension (well created in the first part) completely dissipates as a result.
Knowing the culprit early in their piece of the telling also means that the resolution of the story then hinges on whether or not they'll be caught, and how that will play out. It was interesting enough to keep me reading - I definitely wanted to know - but then after all of that recounting the ending felt contrived and rushed. The plausibility of the story in general requires a fair suspension of disbelief as the murders continue, and while that's fine for the genre, by the last chapter I was actually rolling my eyes.
I agree with another review that suggested the POV shift may have been more effective if the authors had stuck to the more traditional form of interspersing the two throughout. Not sure it would have ultimately made the narrative stronger or not? Maybe, though, it would have made the read feel less like a (failed) formal experiment on a fairly pedestrian plot.
Until It’s Over by Nicci French 🖤 ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• So after reading and absolutely loving The Lying Room for Netgalley this month, I decided to pick up another book by this author. I also discovered that Nicci French is actually a pseudonym for a husband and wife team, which I kind of love 😊. And they may be new favourite authors. This was fantastic. ••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••• Astrid Bell is a young cycle courier in London and lives in a house share with a group of mismatched adults. Bad luck seems to follow Astrid wherever she goes. Firstly, one of her neighbours is found murdered, literally minutes of meeting her. The police are intrigued and become even more so when more bodies start turning up wherever Astrid goes. For the police it’s more of a coincidence. For Astrid and her six housemates it’s the beginning of a nightmare. A great story with real and likeable characters and a few twists thrown in. Highly recommended.
I really like the narrator of this story,it added to the enjoyment for me.
A bunch of "friends" sharing a house seemingly all is well until our heroine seems to be attracting dead people (not ghosts). Several people she either knows or is a few degrees separated from are dying violently and there are similarities.
There are lots of dynamics happening between all the house-mates and life in the shared house is not as idyllic as it first appears, but then they are all (mostly) growing older and really their situation cannot go on like it is, as they are not uni students anymore.
Of course the police suspect her as it is very suspicious that she is "stumbling across" dead bodies.
I didn't guess the ending til near the end, which is always a good sign.
Favorite Passages: "You make it sound like a conspiracy." "Of course it's a conspiracy. So we're going to have to be the counter-conspiracy." _______
I heard sounds: the front door opening and closing; voices; someone laughing; water in the tank; footsteps on the stairs; an old house breathing. _______
Where we lived was one of the roads that formed a kind of boarder between the well-off and the desperately poor. _______
"There are collections of forces and they act on particular people. There's something special about you, Astrid. An aura. We might not be able to see it, but we can feel it." _______
Sometimes, when I was growing up, I wanted to shout at people: "You don't think any of this is real, do you?" I hardly ever did, though, hardly more than just once. _______
You decide what you're going to do and then you do it. It can be that simple. _______
Everyone's faking it. The difference between them and me is that they don't realize it. I do. That puts me ahead. I'm more honest than most people. I know who I am and I know that I'm alone. _______
She was tall and striking and had flawless skin, but her face was discontented and her smile didn't quite reach her eyes. She reminded me of a bird of prey, a hawk perhaps. I told myself I had to be careful. _______
There were fruit cakes, birthday cakes, cakes with teddy bears and cartoon characters. All the sugar and bright colours made me feel nauseous. I chose a chocolate cake, heavy and rich and thick with shavings of chocolate on top; chocolate with added chocolate. Just the thing for a celebration. _______
The next twenty-four hours lay in front of me like a road, clear and straight. _______
I looked at her and her expression had changed suddenly, like a cloud covering the sun, and I knew what it was and I knew that bad things were going to happen. Everything was about to crumble. The darkness would cover everything, like an icy tide coming in. _______
I felt suddenly as if I were a ghost coming back to haunt a house where I had once been happy, or at least where I had been young. A ghost in a house that already had its ghosts. _______
"Do you want to go in?" "No," I said. There was an icy darkness behind that door. If I opened it, it would spill over me. "No. I really don't want to go in." _______
I put my hand in his and led him from there, the place where I'd once lived, in a different world. There were faces at the windows and voices in the silence. There were stories in the shadows. My house of memories; my house of ghosts. I wouldn't go there again.
"Until It's Over" by Nicki French is a thriller that I read in a day😄. Usually murder mysteries are just about the murder but this book was kinda different. It was going on one track & suddenly it changed into something completely different & i was like waiiittt wasn't this a mystery thriller kinda thing?? It was pleasant, I'd say.
✨Story: Astrid, the protagonist, keeps finding herself in places where a murder is just about to happen.
🔪The characters are kinda messed up people living together in a house. I liked the details about their personalities/lives. They all fit with one another really well.
🔪The book has witty dialogues. The writing has a flow to it. It goes on smoothly even though it introduces a variety of happenings in it that aren't directly related to the 'murder' stuff.
🔪The first half of the book is the mystery part, narrated by the protagonist while the second part is the mystery unfolding & it's narrated by the murderer. I liked the first part better but the second part was important. The two halves of the book are actually the same happenings but from two different perspectives which means you kinda reread the first 200 pages but with slight alterations. It did get a lil boring because it was a repetition & also because the murderer was introduced as soon as the second part started so there was nothing to look forward to.
🔪The narration was nice. The way of story telling, the dialogues, the characters were all pretty good. The plot itself was okay. There wasn't really a 'motive' there, but the murderer was kinda messed up since childhood & it was interesting.
🔪The ending was a lil rushed I think. We didn't get to know how the police got suspicious of the actual murderer & I wanted to know what happened to everyone else & who the heck Emlyn was in the epilogue 😂.