Book Bites: February 10

Anthony Horowitz's latest thriller, Yusra Mardini's memoir and the first English biography of Emmanuel Macron - here's what we recommend you read this week

10 February 2019 - 00:00 By Sunday Times Books

The Sentence is Death ****
Anthony Horowitz, Century, R290

Horowitz is, without a doubt, a crime fiction master. Every page of his novels has an unexpected twist. Such is the case of the murder of Richard Price - a celeb-divorce lawyer who is found dead in his swanky bachelor pad. He'd been killed by someone using an expensive bottle of booze and the numbers 189 are painted on the wall next to his corpse. It's a murder mystery that is captivating until the last page. As long as Horowitz keeps writing, we'll keep reading. Jessica Levitt @jesslevitt 

Butterfly: From Refugee to Olympian, My Story of Rescue, Hope and Triumph ****
Yusra Mardini, Pan Macmillan, R310

Throughout her memoir, Olympian swimmer Mardini grapples with the word "refugee". How does one word describe the horrors she witnessed as a child in Syria: watching neighbours disappear, buildings collapse and bombs drop in the swimming pool? How does one word become her entire identity - the only thing that people can see about her? And then, after so many narrow escapes from her death, how do you deal with the survivor guilt and get on with a normal life once you're safe? Searing, fast-paced and action-packed, Butterfly is a necessary addition to literature on what it means to be displaced from your homeland. Anna Stroud @Annawriter_

The French Exception: Emmanuel Macron ****
Adam Plowright, Icon, R290

Europe's main issues - populism, immigration, climate change and structural unemployment - have international resonance. And at the heart of Europe is France, an eternal counterbalance to its historical rival, Germany. The first biography of the man in English documents the extraordinary rise of Emmanuel Macron from being virtually unknown even in France, to become, at 39, his country's youngest president since Napoleon. It's a fascinating peek behind the facade of an intensely private, assured man who, along with his wife, Bridget, 24 years his senior, in just a year assembled from seemingly nowhere the team, network and finances to win the presidency. William Saunderson-Meyer @TheJaundicedEye