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The Distance (Charlotte Alton 1) Hardcover – 8 May 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (8 May 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1409126625
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409126621
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 3.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 222,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

A truly unusual thriller set in the world of espionage, this is a terrific debut... Original and thought-provoking (SUNDAY MIRROR)

Fast, hard and very, very good (Lee Child)

An effective writer of colourful prose and generates plenty of narrative tension. (BOOK OXYGEN)

It's a dark, pacy, compelling and utterly uncompromising tale about people trying to outrun their respective demons. (SHOTS)

A gripping story skillfully told... Helen Giltrow writes so well that every word carries weight (LITERARY REVIEW)

Book Description

A blistering debut thriller that introduces the coolest heroine in contemporary suspense fiction

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on 20 Jun 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I thought this was a good, involving and at times very exciting thriller. It is certainly a very promising debut.

The plot summary sounds pretty dreadful to be honest - a shady "operative" asked to place a hit man inside an implausible-sounding prison facility to kill someone who isn't registered there, with all sorts of personal complications. I wouldn't have bothered but it was recommended to me by a friend whose judgement I trust and I'm glad it was. Some suspension of disbelief is required, but it is well written and structured, and the complex, multi-layered plot develops very nicely. I also found the characters thoroughly believable, which is by no means always the case with this sort of book.

The book is rather too long for its own good and a little tightening would have helped, but certainly not enough to spoil anything badly. Also, do be warned that there is a good deal of pretty graphic violence in it. It is certainly not gratuitous and is unflinchingly horrifying in places so it's anything but titillating, but if you're not keen on graphic violence this may not be for you.

I found this book a good, exciting read overall and I am looking forward to reading the next one in the series - always a good sign. Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 26 May 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a brilliantly tense and clever book with a convoluted, complex plot at its heart. Charlotte’s alias of Karla gestures towards at least one of its influences – le Carré’s Smiley novels – and certainly the theme of redemption or absolution puts it somewhere near le Carré’s habitual moral territory.

This is violent in places, but in a way which feels authentic rather than gratuitous – and I liked the way characters fear pain: there are no super-heroes here. The murky world where the boundaries between criminality and the intelligence communities meet and, perhaps, break down is particularly well done.

Above all, this is a genuinely thrilling thriller where characterisation matters: Charlotte/Karla who is all cool and enigmatic professionalism on the surface becomes increasingly brittle and fragile; and Cate, too, has more frightening depths than is often the case in the genre.

One niggle, though, which forced me to drop half a star is an irritating, and grammatically incorrect, use of contractions: ‘the man’s picked up his pace’, ‘he’s already seen their faces’, ‘I don’t know what answer his mind’s supplied’ – where ‘has’ is contracted in place of the usual ‘is’ or the possessive. I hope the publishers sort this out as it kept jarring me out of the story.

That apart, though, this is an intelligent, twisty and sophisticated read, and a good step up from throwaway, airport pulp thrillers.
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By Nick Brett TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 Aug 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An intelligent thriller from a new author. Lots of layers to this and not a book for those who don't like to think too much, your brain goes into overdrive on this one trying to work out where it is going. And you will be wrong by the way.
Wrapped up in this are a social prison experiment, information brokers, identity brokers, the intelligence services and some dark and buried secrets.
Lots of interesting characters, none more so that Charlotte Allen herself and I am delighted that it l,ooks like there will be more books so we can find out more about her and her shadowy organisation.
This is clever and absorbing stuff and deserves the effort you will put into it.
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By G. J. Oxley TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 18 Aug 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Charlotte Alton was a bit of a fixer - but she's now put her shady past behind her. However, when she's offered an impossible job, she can't turn it down. Her task? To smuggle a hitman into prison to take out someone who's not officially there.

This intriguing, original, and very tense debut gripped me by the lapels and drageed me through its pages: I read it in one day.

Seirously, this is a pretty fabulous thirller!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By I Read, Therefore I Blog VINE VOICE on 20 April 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It’s the near future. Charlotte Alton runs a company dedicated to finding and selling information and hiding people who need to disappear. Ex-client and assassin Simon Johanssen tracks her down with a job offer, she knows that she should refuse. He wants access to The Program – an experimental prison run by its prisoners and known for being completely impenetrable – as he’s been hired to kill one of the inmates.

Charlotte knows this mission that could jeopardise everything she’s built but she and Simon have a connection and she can’t resist a puzzle. As the mission progresses however, Charlotte and Simon realise that there’s a lot they haven’t been told - not least that Simon’s target doesn’t apparently exist - and worse, their respective pasts are coming back to haunt them ...

Helen Giltrow’s debut thriller deals with the murky deals between national spy agencies and freelance contractors in a kind of Smiley meets SPOOKS storyline. It works best in contrasting the Moscow Rules techniques favoured by the old timers with the high-tech solutions of the modern and near-future world and I enjoyed the notion of the Program, which relies on prisoners effectively policing and rehabilitating themselves. Giltrow doesn’t spoon feed you this story – you need to pay attention as she introduces characters and background information without immediate explanation and the pay off won’t be obvious for several chapters. The story kept me turning the pages and it’s not until the end that you realise Giltrow relies heavily on contrivance and coincidence to bring her different plot strands together. Unfortunately, those contrivances did affect my overall enjoyment and while this book leaves with potential for a sequel, I’m not sure I’d rush to read it.
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