The Other Half

The Other Half | Charlotte Vassell

Wow. This is a really, really good novel in its own right, and a cracking good crime novel. Hard to credit that it’s a first.

It’s pitch perfect satire. I was afraid — the cover really doesn’t do justice to this novel — that it would be a clichéd and facile class satire: the party-going silly rich compared to the hard-working, smart ordinary folk.

Well it is this, but neither clichéd nor facile. It in fact very cleverly brings all the characters down to earth and portrays them as very credible people. Most of them are clever, and all of them are unique. The satire runs at a deeper level, touching not only on superficial class differences (champagne, clothes and pricey shoes) but on abuse of power, origins of wealth, and racial and gender discrimination.

The novel is extremely well written. The dialogue is quick, witty and funny. But it’s not just jokes thrown in for entertainment: it really does use the classic ‘show, don’t tell’ to bring forth the personality and identities of each character, and their relationships, or to reveal plot details and move the story forward. For example, there’s a running joke between two of the detectives that is never referred to by them specifically – it just happens. It’s great for character-building and for demonstrating the nature of their relationship, and it feels very real.

As for plot, well, it kept me guessing to the end. There are some unresolved threads that leave room for further development, hopefully in a series. DI Beauchamp and his colleagues Matt and Amy form a great team and I’d love to see them again.

It’s not often I’m this impressed by a first novel. I look forward to more.

A have to come back to the unfortunate cover design. This novel warrants a cover designed to convey a darker and more literary vibe.

Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for providing an ARC. All my reviews are 100% honest no matter how I acquire the book.

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