Long way home by Eva Dolan – a review

Long Way Home is Eva Dolan’s debut novel. I ordered this book a while ago after seeing it mentioned on twitter. The story sounded good and the setting was interesting. It wasn’t until the book had arrived that I saw the author was appearing at the festival in my favourite New Blood panel. It’s not often I’m ahead of the crowd so I was definitely looking forward to reading this.
Long Way Home begins as is often the case with crime novels, with the discovery of a body. The victim has been burnt alive and left in the shed in the back garden of a couple. He is soon identified as a local immigrant who was quite unpopular amongst certain groups. DI Zigic and DS Ferreira work in the Hate Crimes Unit and are called to investigate. Alongside this there are other people being murdered and plenty of hidden secrets.
I really enjoyed this book. The story itself was good, although not the most complicated of plots; however the actual writing and the background made this fascinating. The story is based in Peterborough and is almost unrecognisable from the place I lived 20 years ago (and where my family still live although some members prefer to say they live in Stamford!)
Eva Dolan’s novel gives a graphic insight into the world of both legal and illegal migrant workers who flock to the fenlands around Peterborough in order to get work as labourers and farm hands. The story highlights the treatment that they get at the hands of landlords. Men are crammed 20 into one small room, whilst local residents rent out sheds and garages with no running water or heating. It was reminiscent of the slum lords of the Victorian Age. 
This novel will certainly never be a favourite amongst Peterborough Tourist Board (Is there one? I don’t remember being overrun with tourist attractions when I was a child) however the description of the places and surrounding countryside certainly add to the atmosphere of the book.
I wasn’t overly keen on the two main characters, I found Ferreira’s chainsmoking ‘one of the boys’ attitude a bit annoying, and I’m pretty certain that nowadays smoking has been banned almost everywhere a fact she seemed to ignore. Yet I suspect that they will both grow on me pretty quickly. Which leads me to my main bugbear with the book. The fact that it was advertised everywhere as the start of a series. Personally I felt this did slightly ruin the tension when one of the main characters got into trouble, which otherwise could have been a nail biting scene. However by the time I got to the end I had it enjoyed it so much I’m very glad there is going to be a second instalment. It was a fascinating read and I’m looking forward to seeing Eva Dolan at the festival.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Long way home by Eva Dolan – a review

  1. I’ve seen a lot of noise on Twitter about this debut, but I think yours is the first actual review. Sounds like it might live up to the hype! Another for the TBR…

  2. Pingback: Win a copy of Eva Dolan’s novel – Long Way Home | acrimereadersblog

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