Perhaps unusually mastered well is the essence of bookselling, the cosiness of a bookshop as well as the sinister-esque feeling amongst some of the genres. The inner workings of publishing, bookselling and reading, were very well covered – the Authors familiarity with this field was clear.

The book is full of metaphors and probably more than you’d notice during a first read. But from the snail trail of slime leading us to the ending (and the slug trails within Laura’s flat) there are similarities between the way that the book is written and the story that’s unfolding.

Roach and Laura appear on the surface to be complete opposites. Roach with her true crime addiction and obsession with the macabre, Laura with her firm refusal to even entertain that specific genre, finds gaps in true crime to create poetic stanzas from. Yet they are more alike than they realise and the book breaks this apart and puts it all back together again to make more sense than before. All the while breaking through norms and boundaries, so be prepared… it gets dark. Roach, makes perfect sense throughout the whole the book despite a seemingly dark hobby. She’s logical, matter of fact, and persistent.

This is a grimy book that was akin to visiting a dirty house and wanting to wipe your feet on the way out. Although I read a digital advanced copy I still felt metaphorically grubby afterwards – and that is the talent of Alice Slater bring characters to the foreground that we don’t particularly like (or maybe some of us do!) in a setting that feels uncomfortable just as much as it feels cosy (a bookshop!).

I don’t usually comment on book covers because most of the time they make sense. But I really didn’t like this one. Too vibrant for the story being told and in fact, it doesn’t really sell the story enough. I wouldn’t pick this up to read from just the cover alone.

It’s very hard to sum up – but a four star slow burn with crime fiction elements, psychological undertones and a hint of suspense seems to capture it. I liked it…because I didn’t. Make of that what you will!

About the Book

Roach – bookseller, loner and true crime obsessive – 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.

Smelling of roses, with her cute literary tote bags and beautiful poetry, she’s everyone’s new favourite bookseller. But beneath the shiny veneer, Roach senses a darkness within Laura, the same darkness Roach possesses.

As Roach’s curiosity blooms into morbid obsession, it becomes clear that she is prepared to infiltrate Laura’s life at any cost.

About The Author

Alice Slater is a writer, editor, podcaster and former bookseller based in London. She co-hosts the What Page Are You On? podcast with Bethany Rutter. Death of a Bookseller is her first novel.

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