reviews

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  ‘Palm Beach Finland…’ he began and hadn’t managed to formulate the rest of the question before the woman replied. ‘The name is new, the place is old,’ said Koski and glanced behind her. ‘The new owner painted a few walls, put up a sign and renamed the place. He wants to give it an … Continue readings

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  ANTHONY BURGESS ONCE COMMENTED THAT ‘ALL NOVELS ARE EXPERIMENTAL’, and while that appears true of such work as A Clockwork Orange and Napoleon Symphony, I think he would be delighted with Adam Roberts’ The Black Prince, based on a 90-page screenplay that Burgess wrote, which was never filmed. Roberts, an academic, great Burgess fan … Continue readings

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  ‘Personal background info. Loud noises make me flinch, and many, many much quieter ones … make me want to punch the wall … Strangers at the door make me nervous. Random conversation in the street makes me suspicious. … Thomas, aforementioned guardian, knows better than anyone how much I hate change in general and … Continue readings

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  For some reason, and please don’t ask me why, Queen’s ‘Another one bites the dust’ was going through my head as I read Overkill. On repeat. This was slightly off-putting, but strangely quite fitting given that the opening – probably one of the best, attention-grabbing first scenes of any book I’ve read recently – … Continue readings

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  This is an important year, the centenary of the introduction of the first vote for women in Britain. The vote – the privilege of being able to vote, to step forward and have a voice – is something to be celebrated, especially in these times of politically shifting sands. So, when I first heard … Continue readings

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  The Incendiaries, RO Kwon’s debut novel, is a restrained study of obsession, deceit, love and loss. Kwon’s characters, Will, Phoebe and John Leal, meet at an elite American university. Will and Phoebe are students there, John Leal, the arcane leader of a cult linked to North Korea who focuses his attention on recruiting Phoebe. … Continue readings

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  If you were to say that you were writing a book combining Sherlock Holmes, iconic filmmaker Billy Wilder and the Loch Ness Monster, set in London and Scotland, in two different time periods, I would probably wonder if the world had gone slightly mad – yet that’s exactly what novelist Patrick Kincaid has done … Continue readings

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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