the literary lounge

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    It feels fitting to review Together on this day, 12 April 2021, when the world, or at least our little part of it, begins to open up again, easing our return we hope to a better, brighter, safer and healthier new world. We hope. And that’s what Luke Adam Hawker and Marianne Laidlaw’s … Continue readings

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    We shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, and yet most of us do, particularly in this age of having to buy online, without flicking through pages or sniffing paper. In the case of Song, Michelle Jana Chan’s acclaimed novel, published in paperback this month by Unbound, we’re pleased to say that it’s … Continue readings

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      Coming shortly after the week we’ve had, the months we’ve had, the years, a book essentially celebrating the achievements of a group of very fine women (and, yes, men) who essentially helped save the day for the Allies during the Second World War, is both timely and great. Kate Quinn’s The Rose … Continue readings

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    We love Bitter Lemon’s list, especially its crime-fiction in translation, and The Measure of Time, by award-winning author Gianrico Carofiglio, joins its ranks this month. Set in Bari, in southern Italy, it’s the sixth book in Carofiglio’s series featuring aging lawyer Guido Guerrieri, a philosophical man coming to terms with the passing of … Continue readings

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    We are great fans of a good island-set crime-fiction novel. Scandinavian writer Maria Adolfsson’s Fatal Isles, translated into English by Agnes Broome, is set on the fictional Doggerland, a cluster of islands which lie between Denmark and the UK, and a melting pot of cultures. Recently returned to Doggerland after many years in … Continue readings

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      Acclaimed Scottish writer Ewan Morrison sets his latest book, How To Survive Everything, in a pandemic world. Sound familiar? Here though, we witness it through the eyes of young Haley, fifteen years old when she and brother Ben are first spirited away to a secret hideaway carefully prepared by their seemingly paranoid … Continue readings

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        Stop worrying about your heart and try and have a better brain.” —Elizabeth Bowen   If you’re a fan of Elizabeth Bowen, The Shadowy Third by Julia Parry is totally unmissable. Drawing on the letters that Bowen and Parry’s grandfather, Humphry House, exchanged from 1933 onwards, the book is a lyrical … Continue readings

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    It’s always a joy to be introduced to a new character by a writer one’s never read before. Even, with that in mind, Joe Ide’s LA-based private eye Isaiah Quintabe, also known as IQ, is a revelation, a brilliant, twenty-first century African American Sherlock Holmes. In Smoke, published this month by W&N, he … Continue readings

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    Matt Wesolowski’s Six Stories series is smart, contemporary and sinister. Using the format of Scott King’s much-watched podcasts to explore a particular crime, he mixes folklore, crime-fiction and elements of horror and the supernatural to play on his characters’ and the reader’s paranoia and fear. It’s a masterclass in audience manipulation, but the … Continue readings

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    My grandmother, a wise woman and some would say witch, used to say, treat the plants with the most beautiful flowers with respect and care, as they hide the best and worst of secrets. Of course, as a child, I ignored her – to my detriment, in fact, when I stupidly consumed a … Continue readings

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    From it’s beautiful cover to its beautiful writing, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is a joy to read. The one hundred years referenced in the title are the collective ages of 17-year-old Lenni and 83-year-old Margot, the protagonists of writer Marianne Cronin’s debut novel. Margot has lived a full and … Continue readings

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    Close Your Eyes, the latest novel from best-selling author Rachel Abbott, is a tightly written, well-paced crime novel. It welcomes back DCI Tom Douglas and his team, who are called in to investigate the murder of Genevieve Strachan, the wife of local businessman Niall. The case quickly focuses in on one of his … Continue readings

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      The premise of Helen Fisher’s novel, Space Hopper, is wonderful. What would you do if you could go back in time and be with a loved one? That’s the dilemma of thirty-something, happily married Faye, who still grieves for the mother she lost at a very young age, more so as her … Continue readings

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    Inga Vesper’s debut novel, The Long, Long Afternoon, opens in the claustrophobic heat of the summer of 1959, against the background of an America experiencing great change, socially, politically and racially. Sunnylakes, where the book’s set, is a wealthy, white enclave of Santa Monica, where the women and men adhere to gender-stereotypes, the … Continue readings

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      We do like a good Nordic Noir and we do like Orenda Books, so Smoke Screen, the latest collaboration of best-selling crime writers Thomas Enger and Jørn Lier Horst, is a win–win. The second in the series featuring policeman Alexander Blix and journalist Emma Ramm, it starts with a bang, literally, when … Continue readings

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