If you’re a fan of cardboard cut out detectives with footprints, cigarette stubs and straight up sleuthing then this book isn’t for you. But if you’re here for an intelligent, refreshing and too real to handle take on a murder then do keep reading.
This is How it Ends is a huge departure from Eva Dolan‘s previous police procedural novels but is laced with enough mystery to keep you guessing and social commentary so stark that it will prick your modern conscience like a rusty nail. Usually, I would race through a thriller within a day but with this one I knew I had to take it slow and really absorb the message it came with.
Written from the two perspectives of Ella, an aspiring activist and Molly, a seasoned campaigner, the novel begins with a rooftop party and a dead body. The inhabitants of Castle Rise are being forced out of their homes and through the narrative of both Ella and Molly, we get a glimpse into the lives of activists strongly campaigning against this travesty and the events and circumstances leading up to the death of a stranger in a near empty flat.
The linear, lonely narrative of Molly gives off an air of helplessness and desperation while Ella’s back and forth narration of events helps the reader peel layer upon layer of the mystery behind the dead man’s identity and every page is a revelation.
For me, this novel is primarily about power. Structures of power to be precise, that exist within real estate development, police forces, sexual relationships and activists. We’ve got private buyers and oversees businessmen splashing millions of pounds on social housing to eventually break them down and convert them into swanky, unaffordable apartments, with little to no concern for the homelessness they are causing. We’ve got unhealthy power play in the bedroom, misuse of authority within the police force and even a hierarchy within campaigners and protesters ranging from the silent to the hardcore.
Themes of feminism and female relationships run just as deep and the unusual friendship of a young woman in her early 30s and a woman in her 60s is beautifully narrated. Characters are fully formed and while they are sometimes obnoxious, their behaviour is finally justified as a means to an end.
This novel is a brave attempt at highlighting the housing crisis that the city of London is currently facing. Councils are pushing tenants out of their homes and selling land to private developers due to which the welfare of these inhabitants is under severe attack. It is happening right under our noses and issues in council estates and housing are not being addressed, the biggest example of neglect being the recent tragedy at Grenfell Tower. This is an issue of great concern and one that shouldn’t be ignored and Dolan has expertly weaved it in with a murder and an ending that will punch you right in the chest.
Don’t give it a miss.
This is How it Ends is published by Raven Books and will be out on January 25, 2018.