BOOK BITES | Karin Slaughter, Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Rosamund Lupton

02 February 2020 - 00:00

Published in the Sunday Times (02/02/2020) 

The Last Widow ***
Karin Slaughter
HarperCollins, R305

Good fiction writing always has a sharp aftertaste of reality. Slaughter's novel picks up on aspects of America that illustrate the shocking state of modern humanity. One is the idolisation of celebrity. Others are a culture of guns and - deadly when mixed - the culture of cults. The Last Widow, featuring heroes Sarah Linton, a high-achieving medical examiner, and boyfriend Will Trent, a smart but dyslexic and hunky Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent. They work, at great personal peril, to thwart a domestic terror attack by a white supremacist cult that plots to use medical science to unleash a "weapon of mass destruction". Can Linton and Trent delay the self-destruction of humanity - at least for a while? The reader is swept up in their adventures, looking for meaning where there is really only a murderous and manipulative nutter to be found. William Saunderson-Meyer @TheJaundicedEye

The God Child ***
Nana Oforiatta Ayim
Bloomsbury, R295

Growing up in Germany with exiled parents, Maya has never been able to explore her history and, as a result, doesn't know her future. When her cousin, Kojo, arrives, she starts unravelling her heritage and her parents' story. She returns to Ghana, determined to understand her parents' past and uncover family secrets. Although she is now in her "homeland", Maya still feels out of place. Her discovery of self is not unique but it puts into perspective the sense of loss and not belonging that many immigrants feel, even when they return "home". Ayim achieves a richness that describes not only Ghana and its culture but also her own experience. A poignant, rewarding read. Jessica Levitt @jesslevitt

Three Hours ****
Rosamund Lupton
Viking, R290

Lupton takes on the horror of a school shooting and delivers a superb tale of anger, fear and how through tiny acts of heroism, empathy and humility the pupils and teachers survive. Strangely enough, the shootings don't take place in the US but rather in Somerset, a rural town in South West England. Lupton tells the story from different points of view, so we meet the pupils, the teachers, the principal, the police, the parents and the disturbed boys with the guns. Bone-chilling and engrossing. Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt