reviews

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  doppelgänger noun An apparition or double of a living person.“   The doppelgänger is a recurring device in popular culture, the duplicate other often featuring as part of some larger, nefarious plot – the rather creepy film The Double Man (1967) and Ira Levin’s excellent The Stepford Wives (1972) cases in point. Michael Redhill, … Continue readings

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  A great setting is important to any book, but in a work of crime fiction it is particularly so. In this, Sandra Ireland’s Bone Deep doesn’t disappoint: it has atmospheric locations in spades. A disused watermill lies at the heart of the book, a place suitably immersed in history and legend and bound up … Continue readings

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August is the month that celebrates women writers in translation, of which statistically there are still far too few. Teresa Solana has the distinction of being both a writer in translation and a career translator. Her books, which often blend crime, dark satire and the surreal or grotesque, are translated from her native Catalan by … Continue readings

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  Good crime fiction usually grabs you from the very first page, immersing you instantly in the author’s world. Great books grab you from the very first words: Ausma Zehanat Khan’s excellent The Language of Secrets does just that. Set in twenty-first century Canada, on paper the book is a tale of our times, its … Continue readings

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  The ability to make people laugh is a great thing – and writers who can do so seemingly effortlessly are worth their weight in gold. Gina Kirkham is one such author, and Constable 1261 Mavis Upton a wonderful protagonist. Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot, Mavis’s second outing, hits the ground running. The year is 1999 and … Continue readings

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  Rich in culture, history and beauty, India is a popular setting for novels, particularly ones of a historic persuasion – the southern states though, usually don’t get a look in. Claire Scobie’s The Pagoda Tree, set in late 1700s’ Tamil Nadu, thus stands out. It’s a book I read with particular interest as my … Continue readings

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   It’s a bright  moon outside, and from the window of my house I can see the skeletal gray of the factory, the banners draped like sashes and the deep arterial red of Mandarin characters demanding change … “I’m standing by the window thinking about Jews and shoes and this beautiful Chinese woman asleep behind … Continue readings

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  Ken Lussey joins the bastion of writers and artists drawing on the Second World War for inspiration. The extremely enjoyable Eyes Turned Skywards takes a real event from August 1942 and runs with it – the mysterious death of the King’s brother, the Duke of Kent, in northern Scotland. While en route to Iceland, … Continue readings

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  ‘You were right, you know,’ Meg called. ‘Sheilas have to be brave every bloody day. Men just need it in bursts, the bastards.’   Joy Rhoades, author of The Woolgrower’s Companion, joins the growing ranks of very fine Australian authors, Jane Harper among them, currently making their mark. Partially inspired by the recollections of … Continue readings

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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