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Thursday, 23 August 2018

‘Through His Eyes’ by Emma Dibdin


Published by Head of Zeus,
9 August 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-78669406-5 (HB)

All good books have a theme, a one-liner which the story is setting out to illustrate. The theme of Emma Dibdin's startling second novel is 'If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.'

The protagonist, Jessica, is an entertainment journalist living the dream, at least to onlookers. She has moved to Hollywood, Mecca of the entertainment industry, and between freelance projects and short-term in-house jobs, she is beginning to carve a niche for herself. Interviewing stars, attending premieres and awards parties – what's not to like? But Jessica learned very early that the glitz and glamour is all facade, thin and brittle, and that today's hot property can turn into tomorrow's gossip fodder in the blink of an eye.

Before Jessica was a journalist she was a fan, and her teenage crush on leading actor Clark Conrad has never quite subsided; so, when she gets the opportunity to interview him – a rare privilege, as he normally avoids the press – it feels as if her ship is finally approaching harbour. And when the interview proves to be only the beginning, even the hint of darkness in Clark's off-screen life. doesn't warn her off.

This book succeeds on so many levels that it's hard to know where to start. In the light of recent revelations about Hollywood's less than savoury underbelly, the exposure of even more creepy-crawlies under a different set of stones comes isn't exactly astonishing but is handled with assurance and carries a ring of truth. The way a strong social media presence is replacing old-fashioned talent as a casting criterion is more surprising but no less appalling. The tendency of women to fool themselves into behaving in an uncomfortable way is hardly original, but again handled confidently.

Weave in a setting which is so sharply drawn that it has to come from possibly bitter experience and populate it with characters who live and breathe; then add an ending which is horribly inevitable but no less shocking for that, and the result is a colourful, well-paced and highly readable novel with a dark thread of topical subject matter. And guess what: if that seems to good to be true, in this case it's not.
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Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Emma Dibden grew up in Oxford, and now lives in New York. She is a writer, Jpurnalist whose work has appeared in Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle, and MarieClaire. The Room by the Lake was her first novel.


Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.







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