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Book Bites: 16 April 2017

Published in the Sunday Times

History of Wolves
Emily Fridlund (Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
***
Fourteen-year-old Linda lives in an isolated ex-commune with her parents. Ostracised by her peers and suffering from a healthy bout of impending teen angst, she’s intrigued by the family that moves into a nearby cabin, ultimately forming a bond with their young son, Paul, who – spoiler alert! – dies. Fridlund’s decision to include foreshadowing falls flat as the climax of the novel is both disappointing and uninspired. What could have been a thought-provoking read on the relationship between science and religion is reduced to a mildly interesting story about a young girl trying to make sense of humanity and the mysteries of the physical world. There is some excellent trivia on wolves, though. – Mila de Villiers @mila_se_kind

A Dark So Deadly
Stuart MacBride (HarperCollins)
****
Stuart MacBride is best known for his police procedurals featuring Detective-Sergeant Logan McRae of Aberdeen – but A Dark So Deadly is one of his few standalone thrillers. And what a thriller it is! At over 600 pages this book is no lightweight: one senses both the writer – and his editor – are covering unknown territory and it might take a while for the reader to get caught up in the story. Detective-Constable Callum MacGregor takes the blame when his pregnant girlfriend screws up, and is assigned to the misfit mob. When a mummy is discovered in a rubbish tip which turns out to be of recent provenance, the game is on. Callum perseveres in the investigation through personal disaster and series of twists and turns that will leave the reader gasping for more. Excellent! – Aubrey Paton

Delilah Now Trending
Pamela Power (Penguin)
****
Pamela Power is back with this laugh-out-loud offering. Lilah, single mother to 12-year-old Daisy, is f-bombing her way through life with success. But things go sideways when her daughter is accused of intentionally injuring a classmate. Readers will snort and cheer as Lilah battles through this rough period: armed with champagne, espresso, and many merry friends, so loyal they’ll even help you wax in a pinch. – Tiah Beautement @ms_tiahmarie

The Amazing Story of the Man Who Cycled from India to Europe for Love
Per J Andersson (OneWorld)
****
The cover is deceptive. This is not just a feel-good book filled with love and sitars. It has quite an edge, giving an extensive history of a village in India and how awful life was there for those from the “untouchable” caste. It’s also the true story of how a man from this village named PK fell in love with Lotta, a Swedish tourist. Unfortunately she has to go back to Sweden, so PK, determined to be with her again, gets on his bike and makes sure he gets to Sweden. Heartwarming and filled with unexpected detail. – Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt

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