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on July 28, 2011
With the abduction of Ally Carpenter, a talented young Australian pianist by a gang of ruthless sociopaths, the lives of everyone associated with her--mother, friends, Ally's would be lover, and a secret father, will change forever.

No one could be more shocked than Ally, since she can't imagine why anyone would kidnap her for ransom. No one in her family has money, and certainly not any of her friends. But when the kidnapper tells her that she'll be released when she's paid for by a father she's never met, she realizes that her life has been a lie. Granted, a kindly one meant by a loving mother, but a lie all the same. And when Ally's mother and father finally meet again after twenty-six years of misunderstood separation, will they be able to work through their own personal heartbreaking past in time to save Ally?

Told from the perspectives of the people most affected by this crime, we quickly see that this kidnapping will compound everyone's lives, and before it's all over, choices made by two of the characters will mean that their secrets will cost them everything.

The characters are original and well-developed, the story gripping in its power to convince me of the danger to Ally's life. Lastly, I was convinced without a doubt, that the terrible secrets and painful truths these strong, stubborn women held were what was needed to eventually release Ally from her kidnappers. I'm pleased to say that the author didn't disappoint--right up to the exciting and very satisfying conclusion.

I highly recommend this book and I, for one, look forward to reading the the authors' next book, The Celibate Mouse, featuring Detective Sergeant Susan Prescott.

RP Dahlke, Kindle mystery author
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on October 9, 2011
Diana Hockley is undeniably a unique voice in her field, and I mean that in only the most complimentary of ways. At sports events, we always seek out the best seat but in "The Naked Room" Diana manages to provide us with half a dozen best seats...all as experienced through the first person eyes of major characters.

A well-known and up-an-coming pianist in Australia's classical music scene, Ally Carpenter's fame ratchets upward a thousand-fold when she suddenly disappears. Being a woman who seldom misses practice and never misses events, her having taken a willing break seems unlikely. It isn't long before family, friends, and the media begin to suspect a kidnapping or worse. As Detective Susan Prescott races against time to find the young musician, the love affairs and strained friendships swirling around the music scene are as pervasive to the case as the Carpenter family secrets that begin to leak out like blood.

To say this is an intricately crafted plot would be an understatement, but somehow the author has made her complex weaving easy to understand and fast moving. Within a few chapters, I was swept into the urgency of the Ally's case and found myself reading for longer and longer periods of time...because I just had to know....

Pick up this book, brace yourself and enjoy a gut-wrenching journey.
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on May 22, 2012
I will not repeat praises others have already pointed out.

I enjoyed this thriller because, as a personal preference:

1- the author gradually gives us vital elements of the whole scenario throughout the novel (a red herring here and there, but it's all in good sport). Some authors are very good at holding it all back until the end, but IMHO, too many authors do this poorly and only frustrate and insultingly tantalize the reader. Ms. Hockley takes us along through her story and rewards us at a sustained level. The payoff comes gradually and not in the final chapter. Though unfamiliar with the process, I enjoyed this.

2- Chapters are told in the first person from the perspective of several characters. Again, an unusual choice, but she makes it work. We care and understand each point of view.

3- The end. Ms. Hockley takes great care to tie loose ends and bring closure to the filigrains of her story. Maybe even a little too much so, but I can't find a reason why she wouldn't. Only one thing irks me as to how everything wraps up, but I can't mention it without revealing a spoiler; or maybe it was quickly explained during a lapse of memory or concentration.

4- Secondary things: some sexually explicit scenes... above what would bother most, but still worth a mention. One little thing, though: there's an attempted rape, a short while later the author writes something to the effect of: "when he tried to have sex with her" Um no! he didn't try to have sex with her, he tried to rape her. Two different things. Though perhaps there's no distinction in Australian English. So no points off here.

5- Finally, but not the author's fault: publishers aren't taking Kindle readers very seriously. Unfortunately this electronic edition, like many others, has several omitted words that occasionally break the momentum of reading.

Despite my final trivial gripes, I do recommend this read.
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on April 3, 2013
Australian writer Diana Hockley is an amazing storyteller. Her characters come to life on the page and make you care about what happens to them. Others have already given a synopsis, so I won't go there, but I will say THE NAKED ROOM is an original, thriller, a page turner that will make you sad when the last page is read, because it's over. Please don't pass this one by, Hockley ranks up there with the very best. Read THE NAKED ROOM, you won't be sorry.
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on February 20, 2014
It only took a few pages to find myself completely absorbed in the story, the characters and the mystery. Then it was off to the races as i carried my Kindle everywhere to read a few pages here and there at work before sitting down to some serious reading time each evening. Now I'm done and wish I had read slower to savour each page, each person's point of view, each life history unfolding to lead us to the satisfying conclusion. Best mystery I've read in ages and I plan on diving into the next book. What a great mind the author has!!!
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on September 24, 2013
I really enjoyed this book! The author's change of POV from chapter to chapter was a clever way of keeping the reader involved as the plot unfolded. I thought I knew where the story was headed and, of course, took the bait only to be surprised with an unexpected twist. Diana provides the reader with an authentic Australian experience. I really appreciated the glossary. I'm looking forward to reading 'The Celibate Mouse.' I expect I'll affect an Aussie accent by the time I finish, and perhaps an entirely different perspective on rats!
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on September 12, 2015
* I received a copy of this title in exchange for a fair and honest review

When critically acclaimed pianist, Ally Carpenter, goes missing. Her family and colleagues fear the worst. For Senior Sergeant Susan Prescott it is a race against time to figure out who took Ally and why ... before it is too late.

Once I adjusted to Hockley's writing style, I found that this was a good book; complete with a suspenseful and original plot. At the beginning however I found the alternating viewpoints to be disorienting; at times I suspect that aspects of the story got muddied and/or lost with the frequent transitioning.

With regards to the characters, I really believe that Susan Prescott should have had more of a center stage role. Despite the fact that she plays a major position in the novel, she felt more like a supporting character to me. Additionally, she was not entirely a likable character; she came across as a touch vengeful and quick to judge at certain points. Furthermore, I can say that there was not a single character I really connected with; more development was required in this respect.

On the positive side however, the plot was ultimately interesting enough for me to keep turning pages; it was a creative and clever story that had a fast paced and thrilling ending. Diana Hockley had me guessing to the very end; which is always satisfying with a mystery novel.

Ultimately, I was not as taken with this book as I had hoped. It was not a 'bad' book by any means, particularly for an author's first novel but I felt that this book did not live up to its full potential.

Overall, this was a decent read. I will probably check out the other books in this series after I thin out my 'to-read' list a little bit. I would also recommend that fans of Aussie crime give this book a chance.

My Rating: 3 out of 5
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on January 9, 2014
The Naked Room is written by Diana Hockley. I read her short story “The Metamorphosis of Troubadour Merriwether” and was so intrigued by her writing, than I was eager to try The Naked Room. This is a novel that doesn’t disappoint. Not just a straight detective novel, but rather an in-depth look at each character, their flaws and their motives for being involved.
When Ally Carpenter is taken and held for ransom, no one can think of a reason for the kidnapping, least of all the police. It’s the reader who is gradually made privy to information the police don’t have. Not that it helps – for Ms Hockley’s false trails and red herrings are worthy of an Agatha Christie. I felt sorry for the policewoman Susan Prescott, as despite unerring devotion to her work, she hits that many blank walls she must have had a headache! Not that her work colleagues or even her husband make her job any easier. I particularly liked the soft side of her though. Her empathy with the people involved was well written and totally believable. This is true of the whole of the book. It has a reality that grounds it and the reader is led to think – yes, stuff like this really could happen and people really are like this.
Can you work out who did it? I couldn’t! The resolution to the novel is emotional and all story lines are pulled together. But this is no romantic look at love, lives, kidnapping and ransom. Ms Hockley never shies away from uncomfortable subjects, she tells it as it is, which is a refreshing change. I highly recommend Ms Hockley’s work.
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on June 14, 2013
A little confusing at first because each paragraph is from a different point of view, but it is easy to get comfortable with it. Lots of twists and turns and a good mystery.
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on April 11, 2012
I really enjoyed this book - the overload of American crime ebooks is ridiculous, so to read a homegrown novel is brilliant.

Wonderful storyline, didn't stop moving, kept me up later than I should have been on a couple of nights as I just couldn't put it down! Loved the classical music backdrop.

At times lack of paragraphs made it a bit confusing, couple of characters speaking within the same paragraph, but didn't really detract from the story line.

One thing that bugged me though - the constant referral to scones with jam and cream. Give someone a Tim Tam for morno's! I'm guessing the author is a lovely Aussie woman who loves her classical music on ABC Classic FM and is a great scone maker :) Just read her bio - think I am spot on there lol

Really looking forward to reading more from this author - in fact, I'm going to buy her next one right now :)
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