Review: Kololo Hill by Neema Shah

I loved this book.


Neema Shah draws the reader into a fascinating tale set in 1970s Uganda. In Kololo Hill, we encounter an Asian family who run a shop, and get to know them as the pressure mounts for Asians to leave the country. Shah writes a very modern novel, looking at themes which resonate today.

The family, father Motichand, mother Jaya, sons Pran and Vijay, and Prans new wife Asha are faced with many dilemmas. Family servant December, although Ugandan, is from the wrong tribe, and the family ends up sheltering him from the soldiers who may, at any time, raid their shop or attack them in their home. And their plan to leave is complicated by the fact that although Jaya, Asha and Vijay have British passports, the others do not.

The second part of the book follows Jaya, Asha and Vijay to the UK. We see life through their eyes as they are first sent to Army barracks with other refugees, then as they try to build a new life in North London and bring the whole family back together. I was engrossed in the challenges of their new life, and the end of the book came far too soon.

Well worth a read.

Review: The Searcher by Tana French

The Searcher is another gripping book from Tana French which had me hooked from start to finish.

Ex cop Cal Hooper moves to a remote Irish village after his divorce, hoping to get away from everything. Instead he finds himself sucked into local life when a teenager enlists his help to track down their missing brother.
Nothing it quite what it seems in the village, and even the friendly locals aren’t telling Cal everything. His own code won’t let him drop the investigation even when it becomes darker, even when he is put in danger.

Well worth reading to uncover all the secrets.

Review: Summerwater by Sarah Moss

Summerwater is a beautiful book, perfect for August when we are trying to holiday despite the pandemic.
Section by section, Sarah Moss tells the story of the different people who are all staying in a holiday village somewhere in Scottish woodland.
Each section gives an insight into the person’s story, btu it also tells us about the site as a whole, and the world around. Packed with subtle detail, it draws you in, circling back as you view life in the same place from different perspectives, as everyone portayed grows more irritated by the noisy partying family, the outsiders.
A compelling read right to the end which smacked me in the face with the unexpected climax.

Review: Anti-Social by Nick Pettigrew

I enjoy reading real life experiences from different professionals – they usually give a great insight into aspects of life that I don’t normally see, and Nick Pettigrew’s Anti-Social is no exception.
Pettigrew gives a fascinating perspective on the ‘secret life’ of the anti social behaviour officer. We go through a year in his life, following various cases. He takes us alongside him into flats where neighbours have complained about noise, parties, drugs and more. Together with the month by month analysis of his working life, we also begin to understand the toll this type of work takes on the officer himself.
Nick Pettigrew has a wry sense of humour, honed over years of working with challenging members of society in a setting where budgets are shrinking and teams are perpetually understaffed. I would have liked to have been drawn further into some of the exchanges that take place in each chapter – with more direct speech rather than description – but that’s a minor complaint. This is a compelling book which kept me reading right through to the end where we find out what happens to some of Pettigrew’s longer term clients, and to Nick himself.

Review: Night Falls, Still Missing by Helen Callaghan

Night Falls, Still MissingNight Falls, Still Missing by Helen Callaghan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was gripped from the start with Night Falls, Still Missing. Studious Fiona, a Cambridge professor of metalurgy, is on her way to the Orkney islands. Her chaotic friend Madison has called her asking for help – but she hasn’t explained why. When Fiona arrives, Madison is missing.

Night Falls, Still Missing, follows Fiona as she meets charismatic Iris, sexy Jack, disgruntled Becky and cautious Callum, the rest of the team on the archeological dig where Mdison had been working. Add in Madison’s stalker ex-boyfriend, plus her wealthy mother with chronic health problems and brother Hugo who is living beyond his means, and you have a cast of suspects: how can Fiona know who to trust?

Over the course of a few days, Helen unravels more and more as she learns about what the dig is uncovering. The traces she finds just raise her concerns about what has happened to Madison.

The book is well written and plotted, and Helen Callaghan kept me guessing right until the last few chapters just what had happened to Madison, who might have kidnapped or killed her, whether we would find her dead or alive.

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