reviews

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   ‘Better to be the one who leaves than the one who’s left behind.’   ‘You think?’”   –Polly/Peilan responding to Leon   Following its publication in America, Lisa Ko’s quietly powerful novel, The Leavers, received well-deserved critical acclaim. Now, as the launch title in Dialogue Books’ exciting new list, it will reach far wider … Continue readings

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  Holly Seddon’s new book, Love Will Tear Us Apart questions the nature of love, friendship and marriage. Focusing on protagonists Kate and Paul, best friends since childhood, it follows their changing relationship over several decades. As teens, the friends vow that if they are both still single aged thirty, they will marry each other. … Continue readings

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  In 1942, a group of war-weary Polish soldiers, travelling through Iran to Palestine, came across a starving child carrying an equally hungry small bear cub in a sack. After some bartering, the child left with food and money, the soldiers with the orphan cub, even though they weren’t technically allowed to keep pets. Still, … Continue readings

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  Nordic Noir writer Gunnar Staalesen pays more than a nod to Raymond Chandler in his latest book, Big Sister, the twentieth featuring popular PI Varg Veum. The Little Sister (1949) was Chandler’s fifth book featuring Philip Marlowe. ‘I have a sentimental relationship with [The Little Sister],’ he says, ‘because it was the first one … Continue readings

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  JACQUES, I believe in hope, too. And now I believe in Promises. I never made any because I couldn’t. I make this one. We will see our house, in your paradise…”   The Soldier’s Home, actor–writer George Costigan’s follow-up to the best-selling The Single Soldier, finds Jacques Vermande living in France in the early … Continue readings

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  The second of Peter Murphy’s books featuring charmingly self-depreciative Charlie Walden, Judge Walden Back in Session is an absolute joy to read. Set in south London, where Charlie is Resident Judge of Bermondsey Crown Court, it features five stories which can be read as standalones but are better, in fact, read in sequence. I … Continue readings

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  From the very first line of Anne Coates’ new book, Songs of Innocence, we’re immersed in the action. Two young boys dislodge a body while fishing illegally in the Ponds in Peckham Rye Park. As investigator DS Benton talks to the witnesses, his old foe, journalist and protagonist Hannah Weybridge just happens to arrive … Continue readings

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   ‘Wisdom, compassion and courage are the three universally recognized moral qualities of man,’ said Confucius. And they are probably the three words I would use to summarise my father. He was also conservative to a Victorian degree, patriarchal and emotionally distant. A private man who liked parties. An adventurer who stayed home on the … Continue readings

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  Of course, it was the ultimate indulgence. Friends, lovers, people you cared for. They tied you down, kept you dependent, made you vulnerable. And worse, they paid for their friendship with vulnerability. When someone wants to hurt you they target those you love most.” – Claymore Straker, island off the East Coast of Africa   … Continue readings

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  On one momentous night, in October 1992, birth, death and fire collide in the coastal town of Southend-on-Sea. Twenty-five years later, a young true-crime podcaster reports on the events of his birth date, drawing particular attention to the rape and murder of 19-year-old Heather Bowyer, a crime which remains unsolved. So begins Isabelle Grey’s … Continue readings

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  Most good crime fiction is location rich, the authors giving us insight into the workings of a particular place, be it city or countryside. In Salt Lane, author William Shaw gifts us with the backdrop of almost alien Dungeness, on the Kent coast, to where protagonist Alex Cupidi and her daughter, Zoe, have relocated … Continue readings

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  In a year of extraordinarily good crime fiction, much of which has been published by small or independent presses, Orenda does it again, hitting the mark with Johana Gustawsson’s excellent novel, Keeper. Canadian profiler Emily Roy and French writer Alexis Castells, introduced to audiences in the critically acclaimed Block 46, get a second outing … Continue readings