Year 4 / Book 48: To The Lions

48) To The Lions by Holly Watt

I hugely enjoyed this thriller, which is both a dive into the depths of human depravity and evil (steel yourselves!) and also a fascinating look at the world of investigative journalism, and how they overlap with the criminal worlds they are trying to expose. Casey and Miranda are two journalists at ‘The Post’ who end up following a lead from an overheard conversation all the way to the murky and dangerous underworlds of refugee camps in North Africa.

Watt has come up with both a terrifying central premise and a pulsating plot which has the pace of a crime thriller or police procedural, and is easy to imagine being made into a film (I assume the rights have been snapped up). To these authorly skills, she also brings a clear knowledge and insight into the workings of a paper and the ways and means of journalists (even if some of what gets ‘signed off’ seems fairly far-fetched at times).

The story at the heart of the book is also topical and deeply affecting – if you want a clearer display of what ‘inequality’ looks like in the modern day, you won’t have to look further than the core of this narrative. The characters are worryingly plausible at times, and you won’t come out of the other side of this read feeling very good about hedge fund managers, mercenaries, or (arguably) journalists either.

I whipped through what is an excellently structured book, with the tale propelling me forward to find out what was coming next – and also to resolve the significant amount of dramatic tension being built up, right to the end. Great stuff all round, and I’ll definitely be looking out for her next novel.

Score: 8.5/10

BUY IT NOW:  To The Lions: Winner of the 2019 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award

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