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Thursday 11 August 2016

‘The Art of Survival’ by Kate Evans

Publsihed by Avenue Press,
21 November 2015.

The death of trainee counsellor Hannah’s father, ex-journalist Stan Poole, brings a whole flood of memories from her childhood – memories which she’s suppressed all these years. But will anyone believe her – particularly her friend Lawrence, who looked on Stan as his mentor? Meanwhile, Lawrence’s lover, DS Theo Akande is dealing with a kidnap case. As vigilantes take over in the missing child’s council estate, a body is found ...

This is a novel which is hard to sum up briefly, as the apparently separate plot strands are brought together in the cleverly-plotted ending. The characters are vividly drawn, particularly Hannah, whose vulnerability enlists the reader’s sympathy from the start. Theo’s experience as a gay policeman is also interesting. The plot unfolds gently, but with several good twists, and stylishly written – I particularly enjoyed the bleak winter setting. It’s told in the present tense throughout, with the usual jarring moments where a past is needed. This is the second in the series, and although it’s good as a stand-alone, there are a number of references to the previous book, particularly with Aurora, a young mother that Hannah helped in the first book, so you might want to begin where these characters begin, in The Art of the Imperfect.

A stylish psychological mystery with interesting characters.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Kate Evans is a writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Her book, Pathways Through Writing Blocks in the Academic Environment, was published by Sense Publishers in 2013. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Sussex University and teaches on the Degree in Creative Writing at the University of Hull, Scarborough campus. Her crime fiction is inspired by Ruth Rendell, Minette Walters and Ann Cleeves. She is trained as a psychotherapeutic counsellor. She loves walking by the sea and afternoon tea, and has an inexplicable drive to bring a new generation to the poetry of Edith Sitwell.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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