The Wrong Mother (Zailer & Waterhouse Series #3)

The Wrong Mother (Zailer & Waterhouse Series #3)

by Sophie Hannah


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A chilling, compulsively readable novel of psychological suspense from the author of Little Face and The Carrier

Sally Thorning is watching the news with her husband when she hears a name she never thought she'd hear again: Mark Bretherick.

It's a name she shouldn't recognize. Last year, a work trip Sally had planned was canceled at the last minute. Desperate for a break from juggling her job and a young family, Sally didn't tell her husband that the trip had fallen through. Instead, she treated herself to a secret vacation in a remote hotel. While she was there, Sally met a man—Mark Bretherick. All the details are the same: where he lives, his job, his wife Geraldine and daughter Lucy. Except that the photograph on the news is of a man Sally has never seen before. And Geraldine and Lucy Bretherick are both dead...

With the international bestseller Little Face, Sophie Hannah established herself as a striking new voice in psychological suspense. The Wrong Mother, a riveting exploration of a mother's unspeakable betrayal, confirms her reputation as a master of the form. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143116301
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/29/2009
Series: Zailer & Waterhouse Series , #3
Edition description: Original
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 516,395
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Sophie Hannah is the internationally bestselling author of nine psychological thrillers, which have been more in twenty countries. Her Hercule Poirot mystery, the first to be sanctioned by the Agatha Christie estate, was published in 2014. Hannah is an Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge, and as a poet has been shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. She lives in Cambridge, England, with her husband and two children.

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Wrong Mother 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 76 reviews.
NinnyJC More than 1 year ago
The story centers around Sally Thorning & a brief affair she had a year ago with Mark Bretherin. Sally hears on the news that Marks family has been killed & when they show Marks pic-it isnt the man she knows as Mark. Sally tries to sort out who Mark really is, and the story takes off from there. Readers will enjoy the mystery from the cops perspective, and Sally's until it all comes together in the last climatic chapter. I couldnt put this book down. Lots of interwoven storylines and characters makes this a great mystery I couldnt piece together & when it all together-wow!!! Critics were right when they said it was like a ticking time bomb waiting to go off.
momto3MT More than 1 year ago
Actually I put it away after reading about a third of the book. There are a zillion characters but no character development. On top of that the author makes significant errors and confuses further by misnaming some of the characters. This was a very odd book, I would recommend it to no one, and if you must, get it from your library, DO NOT waste money buying this one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was enthralling - I did not want to put it down - had to keep reading to find out the ending, which was a big surprise!! I definitely have to read Hannah's other books now.
bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
Sally had an affair. She was exhausted and in desperate need of a break. When her business trip was unexpectedly cancelled, she decided to get away anyway. She met Mark and their tryst began. They talked about lives they lead, about their work and about their families. When the vacation came to an end, the two parted ways thinking they would never see each other again. One night while Sally and her husband are watching TV and to Sally's surprise, Mark's name comes up on the news. To her surprise, his wife and child have both been killed. When they show Mark's picture, Sally realizes that the man she was with was not really Mark, her short term lover was using the identity of someone else. Now she is in panic mode and scared for her family. Will she be able to protect her family from this madman that she once shared a bed with? I'm addicted. Now I have to go out and buy all of her other books. Seriously. This was a phenomenal read that blew my mind. I actually received an ARC of this at the beginning of the summer, so I had actually read it a while ago. I am still in a daze over how wonderfully thrilling this book was. If you aren't going to buy it, at least enter my giveaway because I really think you all could get hooked on Sophie's writing. If you do, maybe we could start a club. LOL.
JustMyTwoCents More than 1 year ago
I think there may be a disconnect for me when it comes to understanding British suspense/mystery writing vs. American. This story and its premise started out very good, but then too many inconsequential characters kept getting added to the story line, making it very hard to follow. I did not understand why the police officers seemed constantly annoyed with one another. When a female character described a male character in complimentary terms, one of the officers had to resist the urge to hit her. I didn't understand what was going on in his head. I also did not understand the near constant ruminations many of them had about each other's sex lives. It had nothing to do with the story. And I still don't understand what led the police to start digging in the garden that led to a discovery of two bodies. Too much of this story just didn't make sense to me--and I think it may have been cultural. What started out as an interesting premise, ended up being very difficult to finish. I  ran into similar problems trying to understand Ruth Rendell mysteries--where the explanation for everyithing seems to be that the criminal was psychotic. Others may enjoy this, but it wasn't for me. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gripping, immersive, practically impossible to put down! Totally surprised by "who did it". I love the writing style, switching POVs and all. The ending was lovely; all lines tied up and (mostly) happy, justice meted out. Sally's POV was terrifying and the "villain's" perfectly chilling. I didn't know this was the end of a series, but I wanted Simon and Charlie together from the moment I met them. Great chemistry and characterization. Now I need to read the rest!
emmi331 More than 1 year ago
Set in a small city in England, this novel is absolutely riveting. A mother and her young daughter have been murdered - or is it suicide? -and the police are on the job - when they aren't trying to sort out their tangled relationships and resentments. Two other mothers with young daughters are key to the plot as well, and their stories include adultery, obsession, and the stress of parenting small children. This last is a recurring theme in the story, and anyone who has dealt with some of the difficult aspects of child rearing will be sympathetic, perhaps even to the extreme reactions here. Filled with twists and turns, and an unexpected resolution.
GtzLstNRding More than 1 year ago
Pyscological triller/murder mystery - this book has so many twitsts and turns it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Hang on to the ride with is one. This was the first Sofphie Hannah book I've read and it was worth the read. I'll have to check out some of her other books.
Been_There_Done_That More than 1 year ago
I've read a lot of crime novels and am somewhat jaded. This book is quite refreshing. Totally unpredictable, even for the experienced crime novel/mystery thriller fan. Can't wait to read more of Sophie Hannah's books.
akreese on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Should we judge a book by its cover? I ask because in this case I hated the cover ¿ absolutely loathed it. And you know what? I wasn¿t too fond of the book either (although to be fair I didn¿t hate it).What drew me to this story was the bit about how Sally took a secret vacation when her work trip got canceled. I thought that sounded like it could have some interesting potential for disaster, and that the murder mystery might be a good twist to the story as well. This was all before I saw the cover, but since I was interested in the storyline I decided to check the book out from the library anyway regardless of the horrific blood-dripping tub image.The mystery, while not at all what I had anticipated, was actually not that bad. There were some interesting twists and turns to the plot, and the true identity of the murderer was a complete surprise.There were aspects of the story that I didn¿t like. One of these was the journal written by the suicidal/murdered mom. At first some of her disgruntlement with her child and motherhood seemed understandable, but then it quickly crossed the line into disturbing. At a certain point her thoughts were just too difficult and uncomfortable to read and I didn¿t want to spend any more time inside the mind of someone so disturbed and selfish. After the first few journal entries I skimmed the rest. (I did finish the book though, just not all of the journal entries.)I got what the author was trying to do ¿ show a continuum of dissatisfaction with motherhood. She allows you to sympathize with the normal struggles that most moms feel, but then takes you across the line into cruel and inappropriate thoughts. It didn¿t take long for me to lose all sympathy for that character though, and ultimately I wasn¿t willing to invest my time in her.
dianaleez on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
There are few things as satisfying as watching a well plotted novel come together.
Jaie22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very good, if kinda the mystery equivalent of a trashy romance.
Indygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Sally is a burnt out working mom who is asked to go on a business trip¿the business trip gets cancelled and Sally goes on the trip anyways¿to get away and have a break. While she is there she has a weeklong affair with someone who calls himself Mark Bretherick. An entire year passes by and neither of them speaks to each other or see each other even though they live fairly close by. Then there is a murder, it is the murder of Mark's wife and child. Sally sees Mark on the news but he is not the same man she had her affair with. All the details of his life are exactly the same...and his dead wife is a look alike of Sally. Sally then notices that someone is following her and trying to kill her. At the same time she is trying to cover her own tracks as she does not want her husband to find out about the affair so she takes things into her own hands. There are various story lines going on with all of the characters that are involved. Very suspenseful and full of surprises.
CandyH on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was a very strange book. It was difficult to get into as there was much rambling and the story line just did not hang together for much of the first half of the book. Then as the mystery evolved it became quite interesting and made the reader want to know what would happen next. After getting thoroughly involved in the story, it just ended leaving the reader hanging. I did not care for this book and would not recommend it.
bhowell on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have given this book a five because it is a chilling riveting read that simply could not be any better. In it's genre, it is superb. Escapism at it's best. While spending a week away from her husband and children at a resort, Sally Thorning meets a man and has a brief affair. A year later she hears his name on the news. His wife and child are dead but the picture of him is someone else. Why did the man she met use his name? And why is she being followed? Highly recommended.
SWilley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book started out fairly strong, had my interest and then dithered on for way too long and got more and more unbelievable, by the end I didn't care what happened, just wanted it to FINISH !
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What an excellent thriller this was! I got it because it had a recommendation from Tana French on the back cover. French is one of my favorite new crime writers who managed to write an amazing first book and an even more amazing second book. I figured if she liked this one, I would, too. And I did!This is one of those books that both excels past its genre and stays firmly in it. Hannah never breaks the rules of thriller in this book, but she expands the notion of what a writer of thrillers can do. All the things that you want from a thriller writer are here - tight and intricate plotting, suspense, and unexpected twists and turns. Add to those things compelling characterizations and deft writing and the book is successful.I especially liked that Hannah was brave enough to allow one of her characters to express the dirty little secret of mothering small children - that it's hard, back breaking, frequently enraging work; that mothering is thankless and brutal; and that small children are often tyrannical in their power over us as parents. No, this isn't the only story to be told about mothering, but it is a part of the story - it's just the part we're all too uncomfortable to express. Express it Hannah does, and she expresses it with utter skill.This was a great thriller and now I have to go find her other novels! You should read this - it's really really good.
samantha.1020 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a thriller all about the choices that we make and the consequences of those decisions. Sally Thorning is a working wife and mother of two children who made a decision a year ago that is now coming back to haunt her. Because Sally lied to her husband and went on what was supposed to be a "business trip", but was in fact a vacation away from her everyday life. On her weekend away Sally met a man named Mark Bretherick...the name of a man who is now on television because his wife and daughter have been murdered. But the Mark Bretherick on television isn't the Mark that Sally met and spent time with while she was away.How seriously creepy is that?? Sally goes on a trip alone, meets and has an affair with a man, and then goes back to her every day life. Except that the man she an affair with isn't the man he claimed to be and now Sally doesn't know who she spent the weekend with. Plus, there are creepy things happening to her and Sally is starting to realize that someone is out to get her. This book was a definite page turner for me. On one hand, I had a bit of a hard time relating to Sally. Not that I don't understand the need for alone time but the decisions she made on her weekend away weren't the smartest ones. But the dislike for her affair was immediately set aside as different things began happening to her that showed Sally to be in danger. The mystery aspect of the book was very compelling and I didn't figure out who the "bad" guy was until the end. And trust me, I was turning pages and reading as fast as possible trying to see what was going to happen next. My only complaint was the ending was a bit bleh and by that I mean that I wasn't very impressed with it. It was an okay ending but nothing amazing. It was still a really good, suspenseful read though. This book definitely made me think about the every day decisions that we make and how it can affect our lives.Bottom Line: A good thriller and an author that I plan to read more of!
picardyrose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the disadvantage of being British: An American woman could have gunned this man down.
gsisson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very, very slow - didn't care what happened at the end - and I was only in the middle!
pharrm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Young mother has a fling while away from home and it comes back to haunt her. Another mother and daughter are killed and at first it looks like a murder suicide;
SugarCreekRanch on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Wrong Mother is a complex psychological thriller. The characters are drawn more richly than in most books of this genre. I could relate very well to the main character, harried not-quite-a-supermom Sally Thorning, and struggled along with Sally, trying to figure out what was going on. I did not figure it out until very near the end. Highly recommended page turner.
xxsquigglesxx on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I could not get enough of this book. After I read my copy I put it somewhere and I can't seem to find it, hence the summary from Goodreads instead of the inside cover blurb today, so let me summarize the book a little bit more. Basically, Sally Thorning goes away on vacation and has an affair with a man name Mark Bretherick. Some time later, she is watching the news and it shows that Mark's wife and daughter are both dead, but the man claiming to be Mark on t.v. isn't the same man who Sally had an affair with. The book is a murder mystery and keeps you guess at every turn. This was definately a book that I did not want to stop reading. It's very suspenseful and I kept needing to know what was going to happen next. There were many things that I didn't understand in the beginning of the book that I just had to keep reading to untangle the mystery.
marcejewels on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It began with an affair. And ended in death.Sally Thorning is watching the news with her husband when she hears an unexpected name-Mark Bretherick. It's a name she shouldn't know, but last year Sally treated herself to a secret vacation-away from her hectic family life-and met a man. After their brief affair, the two planned to never meet again. But now, Mark's wife and daughter are dead-and the safety of Sally's own family is in doubt. I will start by saying I think all first time Mothers, especially Working moms should read this. The overall mothering thoughts, good and bad were dynamite in a psychologically frightening way. Also the appreciation and love husbands show differently, I truly enjoyed. It will make you question what you take notice of or if your spouse will notice anything different when giving hints etc. That is the summary of what I enjoyed about the book. It was a great try but just not executed well, lots of twists but for me just not a believable story.The story overall to me was not believable, the police work not believable and the main victim, Sally, not believable especially in her reaction to a few things and the ending, WTF, whatever I thought. Way too many characters and unnecessary to switch from real name to nickname, it was just an additional distraction to keep track of in the book that didn¿t add to the story. Also with that many police officers why would female characters have male names, eg Charlie, just a dumb choice in my opinion. Background relationships that was unnecessary also. The book was 400 pages, could have been so much better with only 300.
jnavia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed with this book. When I first started reading it, I loved it, couldn't put it down! The circumstances surrounding the deaths were very strange, and I wanted to understand what happened. The writing was good and it was delightful to read the excerpts from the diary written by a mother who was completely overwhelmed by the tasks of motherhood. (I don't have children, but I can imagine how extremely difficult the job of motherhood must be. Blowing off steam in a diary makes sense to me). Unfortunately, when I got toward the end of the book, it required way too much of a suspension of disbelief for me to accept what happened. It was definitely a unique story -- pretty interesting, really -- but just unbelievable, for a number of reasons, and it ruined the reading experience for me.