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BOOK BITES | Joanna Briscoe, Alexander Strachan, Erica Katz

25 October 2020 - 00:00
'The Seduction' by Joanna Briscoe, '1 Recce' by Alexander Strachan, and Erica Katz's 'The Boys' Club'.
'The Seduction' by Joanna Briscoe, '1 Recce' by Alexander Strachan, and Erica Katz's 'The Boys' Club'.
Image: Supplied

Published in the Sunday Times (25/10/2020)

The Seduction ***
Joanna Briscoe
Bloomsbury, R330

"Danger wore a sweet face," opens The Seduction, Briscoe's latest novel. Artist Beth lives with her partner, Sol, and their daughter, Fern. But as Fern morphs from tween to teen and becomes secretive, Beth's anxiety rockets. Sol pushes Beth into therapy, where she is matched with Dr Tamara Bywater. But is Bywater actually helping, or is she creating a new, more dangerous situation? This slow, seductive thriller has a chilling edge. Tiah Beautement @ms_tiahmarie

1 Recce ****
Alexander Strachan
Tafelberg, R290

This is a competent history of South Africa's famed reconnaissance operators, known the world over for their horrendously difficult selection and training, and small-team operations far behind enemy lines. Strachan does a good job of detailing the history and important operations of the elite Recces, but his descriptions of battles can be somewhat overwrought. Nevertheless, it's worth a read for anyone wanting to know why the Recces have such a legendary reputation and those looking for a well-rounded account of the South African Defence Force's reconnaissance operators and their wartime activities. Guy Martin

The Boys' Club ****
Erica Katz
Orion, R355

It's not often I see my surname on the first page of a novel. Here it's in a court document: Sheila Platt (plaintiff) vs Gary Kaplan (defendant) and it instantly hooked me. The main protagonist is Alex Vogel, anxious about starting a new job at a prestigious Manhattan law firm. She's determined to make her mark, but realises office politics are even worse than she imagined. There's a code of silence applied to the boys' club, where coke is openly snorted and men sexually harass their coworkers without consequences. Alex starts hanging out with these "boys" and soon has a lot to deal with. Will she play by their rules? A modern Mad Men, it's already been optioned for Netflix. Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt