Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Brand New Friend by Kate Vane

Brand New Friend by Kate Vane
Self published in the UK on the 25th June 2018.

Launch promo!
Buy your copy at $0.99/£0.99 on Amazon
until the 10th June

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $3.99 / £2.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Brand New Friend to your Goodreads

Friend. Liar. Killer?

BBC foreign correspondent Paolo Bennett is exiled to a London desk – and the Breakfast sofa – when he gets a call from Mark, a friend from university in eighties Leeds. Paolo knew Mark as a dedicated animal rights activist but now a news blog has exposed him as an undercover police officer. Then Mark’s former police handler is murdered.

Paolo was never a committed campaigner. He was more interested in women, bands and dreaming of a life abroad. Now he wonders if Mark’s exposure and his handler’s murder might be linked to an unexplained death on campus back when they were friends. What did he miss?

Paolo wants the truth – and the story. He chases up new leads and old friends. From benefit gigs and peace protests, to Whatsapp groups and mocktail bars, the world has changed, but Mark still seems the same. 

Is Mark the spy who never went back – who liked his undercover life better than his own? Or is he lying now? Is Paolo’s friend a murderer?

Brand New Friend is the third of Kate Vane's novels that I have read and I love that all three have explored very different subjects and situations. Vane is a wonderfully versatile author! In Brand New Friend we are taken back to 1980s Leeds as seen through the eyes of then-university student Paolo. Prior to university, Paolo had just been Paul, but with his change of scene came a change of identity which he maintains to the present day. This novel begins with Paolo discovering that he wasn't the only one of his group to have lied about their identity: Mark the fervent animal rights activist was actually Mark the undercover policeman. I found Paolo's reaction to the news interesting as he begins to investigate the truth about Mark. Yet were the two men's subterfuges really as different as Paolo would like to believe?

I liked the 1980s storyline in which we get to know the random strangers who became Paolo's close friends through his university years.They are a diverse bunch and I could recognise much of their trying-too-hard personas from my sixth form years. Activism, alcohol and poor diet choices brought back lots of memories of student life so the historical chapters were fun to read. I wasn't so convinced by the present-day storyline which, for me, unfortunately didn't feel as fully realised and I thought it would have benefited from more tension. The political ideas are nicely presented without becoming at all preachy and the conclusion is satisfying.

Meet the Author
I'm an author of (mostly) crime and suspense, living in Devon. I have written for BBC drama Doctors and have had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday.

I mainly read crime and literary fiction with some non-fiction and am a recent convert to audiobooks. If you check out my blog it has features on writing, publishing and all things bookish as well as the occasional podcast review

Blog ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Kate Vane / Crime fiction / Books from England

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