I’m so far behind on books that I want to read that my TBR pile is actually now a bookcase that’s spilling over to a second. It’s great to have plenty to read but it means that I’m missing out on some great books while I catch up. Eva Dolan’s debut novel Long Way Home appeared on many bloggers’ lists as a highlight of 2014. She has since published her sequel, Tell No Tales, but last month I finally got around to reading her debut. And I can see what all the fuss was about. Long Way Home follows the great tradition of police detective duos but addresses the modern issue of immigrants exploited for cheap labour.
A man is found burnt alive in a shed in Peterborough. Detectives Zigic and Ferreira from the Hate Crimes Unit are tasked with finding the killer of the victim who is identified as being from the immigrant community. But locals close ranks when asked questions about their treatment of migrant workers and gang masters focus on ensuring their interests remain protected.
Long Way Home is an interesting book in that Dolan steer clears of the predictable. Another writer might have had a single ethnic minority detective to contrast their work with the crime they are investigating. But Dolan has her two central characters from Serbian and Portugese backgrounds. Both encounter subtle incidents of racism from the community which ramps up the tension further.
The writing is excellent. I don’t normally quote passages of text in my reviews but there were plenty of examples in this book of sentences that could be lifted out in terms of quality. Particularly good are Dolan’s observations of the local British population who turn a blind eye to what is going on around them.