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Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on April 27, 2023
ISBN: 9781529385359
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers, Suspense, True Crime, Murder, Serial Killers, Crime, Psychological, Domestic, Mystery & Detective, General
Pages: 377
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Buy on Amazon
four stars - Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater

'A confident, sassy, pitch-black debut' CAROLINE KEPNES'Your new obsession' ERIN KELLY'Savage, witty and all-consuming' ABIGAIL DEAN'A dark masterpiece. It will work its way under your skin like a splinter' CATRIONA WARD
***** Roach - bookseller, loner and true crime fanatic- is not interested in making friends. She has all the company she needs in her serial killer books, murder podcasts and her pet snail, Bleep.
That is, until Laura joins the bookshop.
With her cute literary tote bags and sunny smile, she's everyone's favourite bookseller. But beneath the shiny veneer, Roach senses a darkness within Laura, the same darkness Roach possesses.
And as curiosity blooms into morbid obsession, Roach becomes determined to be a part of Laura's story - whether Laura wants her in it or not.*****
'A spectacularly creepy debut ... a tense and disturbing read' GUARDIAN'Tense, addictive and sticky underfoot' JULIA ARMFIELD'A sharp and creepy debut thriller' DAILY MAIL 'Utterly unforgettable' CATHERINE RYAN HOWARD'Delightfully dark' COSMOPOLITAN, Best New Books 'Engrossing, atmospheric and deliciously dark' WILL DEAN'Uncomfortable, claustrophobic, and you won't take your eyes off the pages' BELFAST TELEGRAPH 'Impossible to put down' ELIZA CLARK'A sinister and tense debut that will chill you to the core' PLATINUM MAGAZINE 'Relentlessly creepy and deeply compulsive' HEATHER DARWENT

Death of a Bookseller is something new. It has a killer premise. The story was impactful with a deep plot that evokes emotion on every page. Slater constantly stokes the flames of mystery.

Well, wasn’t this one an anvil to the head?

I love a fantastic crime story and Death of a Bookseller didn’t disappoint. The aura of obsession, jealousy and pain are never far from the pages. It’s like a shadow, preparing to swallow you whole, consume you as you consume it. A full circle of darkness.

Okay, So Roach (real name Brogan), works in Spines, a bookstore in Walthamstow. The images my mind conjured up is nothing short of what I wanted to exude in my teenage years. I wanted to be a goth, but the threat of what my mother would say stopped me in my tracks. The purple hair, the bank t-shirts, thick platform boots, the makeup. She doesn’t have many mates, excluding her African snail (what a cool pet,) she’s also obsessed with true crime. I mean who isn’t?

Laura joins the Spines team in Walthamstow and Roach’s life spirals like water going down the drain. From having her dedicated section of true crime in the store to having no role at all, she looks at Laura, in her mind, she’s caused it all. She’s been nothing but cordial to her, maybe a little too enthusiastic when it comes to her poetry, but she just wants to have a genuine connection to someone. When Roach finds out her mother was murdered by a serial killer, she stick to Laura like glue but instead of the two seeing each other’s point of view Laura is repulsed by her.  Laura is a vulnerable character, even if she does try to portray a confident aura. She’s a bit of a high functioning alcoholic, is forever holding a torch for Eli, and yet I didn’t like her, she was rude, obnoxious and had pre-conceived ideas about Roach before really knowing her. It reminded me of the mean girls from high school.

 I liked Roach at first, I think it really affected her, the way Laura treated her. It became an obsession to show Laura that they could become friends, that they shared a common interest although at two different polars of the same spectrum. Some of her decisions were extremely ill advised and she took on a different identity, someone more than Roach, more confidence, more outspoken, a person she wanted to be. It didn’t really work for her though, she should’ve given Laura the two-finger sign and moved on. You should always be yourself.

This book was a slow burn that turned into an inferno. Dialogue that is razor sharp, characterisation that isn’t unlike some of the characters you meet in bookstores. She captures the mystery behind them with humour and seriousness combined to create an explosive concoction.


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I’m a writer, editor and podcaster based in London. I review short story collections for Mslexia, edit fiction on a freelance basis and chair literary events in London.

Do you want to work together? I’m down for whatever.

Get in touch with me: alicemjslater (@) gmail.com
Agent: Zoe Ross at United Agents
Twitter: @alicemjslater
Instagram: @alicemjslater

Alice Slater

four stars - Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater

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