The Distance by Helen Giltrow

Phew! I feel like I’ve just finished a marathon reading The Distance! To put that into context, I began reading this book in February (no it hasn’t taken me that long!) but within days of starting, I went down with the worst flu I’ve had in years. For 3 days I couldn’t read anything and it took me 3 weeks to fully recover. I only came back to reading it a couple of weeks ago when I was ‘match fit’. Coming in at 400 pages in the paperback (I was reading on Kindle so had no idea about length), it’s a hefty read with a fiendishly complicated plot. You have to have your wits about you to keep up. But it is stunning!

Meet Charlotte Alton – she’s sophisticated, connected, wealthy and aloof. And then there’s Karla – mastermind of an underground criminal network who knows how to ‘fix’ things. Both live in a swanky apartment in Canary Wharf, the same apartment in fact, because Charlotte is Karla. When Simon Johanssen, a hitman, appears at the Royal Opera House, Charlotte knows that she has to become Karla again. Simon has a job but he needs her help to do it. The set up appears easy. All Karla has to do is get Simon into a prison to take out an inmate. But the prison is The Program and the inmate isn’t officially in there.

I daren’t tell you anymore because I don’t want to give away the complete plot but this is a huge thriller. Helen Giltrow hasn’t shied away from prison violence – it’s brutal but I don’t think it’s gratuitous. Told from three different viewpoints, the story twists and turns like rapid gunfire. I absolutely did not guess the final twist and although everything is explained in the end, we’re also left hanging a little, in a good way. Book 2? I do hope so! Five stars from me.

If you want to follow Helen Giltrow on Twitter


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