Difference between revisions of "The Late Train to Gipsy Hill by Alan Johnson"

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(Created page with "{{infobox1 |title=The Late Train to Gipsy Hill |sort=Late Train to Gipsy Hill |author=Alan Johnson |reviewer=Peter Magee |genre=Thrillers |summary=A politician writes fiction?...")
 
 
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For more London-based thrillers, we can recommend Mick Herron's [[Mick Herron's Jackson Lamb (Slough House) Novels in Chronological Order|Slough House]] series, featuring the inimitable Jackson Lamb.
 
For more London-based thrillers, we can recommend Mick Herron's [[Mick Herron's Jackson Lamb (Slough House) Novels in Chronological Order|Slough House]] series, featuring the inimitable Jackson Lamb.
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Breaking News: Bookbag has just heard that a sequel is in the offing - and we can't wait!
  
 
{{amazontext|amazon=147228612X}}
 
{{amazontext|amazon=147228612X}}

Latest revision as of 11:00, 21 October 2021


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The Late Train to Gipsy Hill by Alan Johnson

147228612X.jpg
Buy The Late Train to Gipsy Hill by Alan Johnson at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Peter Magee
Reviewed by Peter Magee
Summary: A politician writes fiction? Yes - but this time, it really works and this is a great read. Definitely recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: September 2021
Publisher: Wildfire
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1472286123

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We all know people like Gary Nelson, although we probably haven't taken much notice of them. They live quiet, uneventful lives and stay mostly under the radar. In a city like London, that's quite easy - and even Gary's three flatmates largely ignore him. The highlight of his day is watching a beautiful young woman apply her makeup as she goes to work on the train each morning: he'd love to ask her for a date but he doesn't have the courage. Then, on his homeward commute, Arina speaks to him and asks for his help. Before long he finds himself on the run from mobsters, Russian secret agents and the Metropolitan police.

Recently we've had a spate of books by a series of people who might be loosely described as 'celebrities' of one sort or the other. Occasionally it's difficult to avoid the conclusion that the book was published more on the basis of reputation (also known as 'saleability') rather than literary merit. I worried that this might be the case here. Alan Johnson was a Labour MP for twenty years and held a total of five cabinet positions (including Education Secretary, Health Secretary and Home Secretary) in the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. The man's a much-respected politician - it was widely felt that Labour's fate might have been very different had he been the Labour leader in the 2017 and 2019 elections - but can he write?

In reality, I had no doubt that Johnson could write - I had a great deal of pleasure from reading his autobiographies - but writing a thriller requires a completely different skill-set. The characterisation is good: Gary and Arina make a compelling if slightly unlikely combination. There's a lot more to Arina Kaplin - ostensibly a waitress - than meets the eye and I came to care about the outcome. There's a large cast of characters and they all come off the page fully-formed.

The plotting is good too. The outline of the plot sounds rather hackneyed - unassuming man and waitress take on Russian mobsters, their secret service and the police - but Johnson manages to breathe real life into the story. He makes it feel original and his relaxed writing style meant that the pages turned very quickly and the ending was most satisfying. I do hope that we'll see more thrillers from Johnson and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a review copy to the bookbag.

For more London-based thrillers, we can recommend Mick Herron's Slough House series, featuring the inimitable Jackson Lamb.

Breaking News: Bookbag has just heard that a sequel is in the offing - and we can't wait!

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Buy The Late Train to Gipsy Hill by Alan Johnson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Late Train to Gipsy Hill by Alan Johnson at Amazon.com.

The Late Train to Gipsy Hill by Alan Johnson Check prices, read reviews or buy from Foyles. Foyles currently charges £2.99 (first class £3.99) for orders under £25, over which delivery is free. You may also click and collect from a Foyles bookshop at no charge.

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