Year 4 / Book 14: Tell No Tales

14) Tell No Tales by Eva Dolan

I read Eva Dolan’s first Zigic & Ferreira novel, Long Way Home, a while back and really loved it. First off, she’s an excellent writer, with a great command of plot, narrative arc and character creation. Second, she’s focused in on immigration, particularly East European immigrants, as the centrepiece of her crime novels – the interest often coming from the fact that the two detectives are themselves from immigrant families to the UK (though if you go back far enough, aren’t we all…).

Tell No Tales is the second novel, which I’ve just downloaded because all four of the Zigic & Ferreira novels are currently 99p (see link at end of review) – and I just raced through. Set in Peterborough and the surrounding areas, the detective duo are on the trail of an unknown far-right killer who has a penchant for a Hitler salute when he’s finished stamping someone’s head in – who might or might not be connected to a pair of Slovakian sisters who are also coming under threat from different sides. And associated with it all is an MP for the English Patriotic Party, who wants to both encourage division but also keep them under control.

Given this is three of four years old, it could scarcely be more prescient or relevant – you have UKIP lurching to the far-right and their former leader launching a new ‘patriotic’ party by inciting violence towards MPs. You also have various connections to former fascist parties, like the BNP or the English Defence League. And an environment of violence and division that seems to be building inexorably. Suffice to say that reading this tale didn’t feel like 2015, it felt like it had been lifted straight from April 2019.

This is part of what raises Dolan above the more generic crime thriller contingent: she’s dealing with issues in society, raising awareness of how people live and work at the fringes (there’s some lovely moments in employment agencies and farms here), and connecting it to the broader threats we all face. But she doesn’t hammer that down the reader’s throats, but weaves it in effortlessly to the narrative and the lives of the connected characters. In fact, the only thing I could really fault here was a slightly melodramatic made-for-TV ending which didn’t quite ring true with what had preceded it for me. All that said, she’s a great writer and you don’t need to be a lover of good police procedurals to know that.

Score: 8.5/10

BUY IT NOW: Tell No Tales (DI Zigic & DS Ferreira Book 2)

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