Book Club member reviews: Persons Unknown

By Beverly Curry, Spring Chicken Book Club member

Here is how Persons Unknown condenses into three words:

‘Twists and turns’        ‘Relevant, entertaining, absorbing’    ‘Enjoyable detective novel’

I was so impressed with the up to the minute nature of this story and the finely detailed characters. I felt I knew the main characters so well by the end and cared about what happened to them. I woke up on the morning after finishing the book wondering what Manon was doing!

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Susan Steiner uses simile and metaphor originally and very effectively to create realistic scenes that the reader feels a part of. Discussing the relationship between Ellie and  Jon-Oliver ‘Does some corner of her carry a residue of love for him, like a cupboard shelf that hasn’t been wiped?’ and ‘Harriet’s body is sinewy, taut because she is a ball of constrained movement – a rubber band at full stretch, wanting to ping. Physically, Manon thinks, we couldn’t be more different. I have no inner spring. I am in constant preparation for sitting down.’ Lovely contrast!


By Sarah Tavenner, Spring Chicken Book Club member

The author captured so many aspects of the minutia of the life of her characters, Manon and Ellie harassed working mothers, the problems of bringing up a teenage son alone, the loneliness of Birdie, the fear of Angel and the conflicts of interest between work in the police force and personal desires.

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One of my favourite passages is her description of what Manon misses about Fly whilst he is not there, his shoes vast and boat like that she falls over in the hall, the specks of toothpaste on the bathroom mirror and just the knowledge that he is down the hall in the house although he is silent and shut away in his own world.


Drawing comparisons with Persons Unknown:

  • ‘There were echoes of Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men in the conversation between Birdie and Angel on page 101 and I could hear Bridgette Jones within the lists on page 172.’

Beverley Curry, Spring Chicken Book Club member


  • Persons Unknown is ‘similar to Alison Bruce who also writes detective novels set in Cambridgeshire.’

Claire Martin, Spring Chicken Book Club member


Who would our Spring Chicken Book Club members recommend Persons Unknown to?

‘My husband’              ‘My friends who like Val McDermid’               ‘Friends and family’


Would you like to join our Book Club?

Simply click here, fill in the form on the right (or below on mobile devices), and click ‘join now’.

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