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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Twilight Time
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2014
I stumbled across this book when I stepped into a bookshop in Kirkcudbright and Karen was signing copies of her latest work. I love the detail of the characters, the sense of Glasgow and the pace of the work - it's brilliant! I am interested in human resilience and there are lots of examples in her storyline of facing challenges in the world of crime and relationships.
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on 18 May 2015
It's a long time since I've enjoyed a crime novel (using that term rather broadly) as much as The Twilight Time. I have worked in the Scottish criminal justice system for forty years and for twenty three of these I was a prosecutor in courts in and around Glasgow working closely with Strathclyde Police. Against that background I was immediately struck by the book's authenticity. Far too often supposedly Scottish crime novels are nothing more than English stories wearing kilts and written by authors who have little or no understanding of Scotland's distinctive legal system. The Twilight Time is simply in a different league - Karen Campbell's writing is of the highest quality. she knows what she's talking about and she creates flawed, believable characters about whom the reader really cares. I didn't quite read The Twilight Time in a single sitting but I came close to it and now that I've read its sequel After the Fire (which I found it a bit of a let down) I'm going to re-read it at a more leisurely pace, the better to savour this really excellent book
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 6 April 2008
The book has been lumped into the crime-genre, mainly because the main characters are on the police (or married to someone in the police), and of course there are crimes to be solved.

And, as a crime-novel, it is superbly-written, with enough twists and turns in the plot to keep you intrigued to the end.

But this is a book is so much more than a run-of-the mill crime novel. It is every bit as much about the tedium of domesticity and the politics of the workplace as it is a crime novel. It is a every bit an alternative travelogue of Glasgow as it is a crime novel. It has characters that are so multi-dimensional that one moment you will admire them and the you will pity or even despise them.

I understand that the author has signed an initial deal for 2 books and that the second has already been written. I can't wait....
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The greatest attraction of all three of Karen Campbell's novels is how closely they portray the working and private lives of police officers in Glasgow. There's nothing remotely glamorous about the story here, just as there isn't in real life, because as anyone working at the blunt end of law enforcement will tell you, crime is invariably dirty, seedy and repellent with none of the exotic characters or staged crime scenes common in contemporary fiction. So if you want to break away from the endless stream of trophy-taking serial-killer 'thrillers' and want to peep into the world of policing as it really is with utterly convincing and authentic characters, take a look at The Twilight Time and its sequels. It's a cut above the mainstream and a welcome escape from the detritus we are usually offered in the crime genre these days.

Despite the occasionally dark tone of the imagery, there are frequent touches of humour, often as a result of the reader actually getting to know and care for the characters for once. One of Karen Campbell's strengths is her notable ability to create individual and different personalities; in this debut novel the two leads are female but they are very different people with almost nothing in common apart from the man that one of them is married to and for whom the other has lustful desires. The primary lead is DS Anna Cameron, a thirty-something single woman with no hang-ups about a sexually predatory lifestyle that in fiction tends more often to be attached to male characters, despite the fact that she has to face the male-dominated politics of a police force that has clear (if understated) prejudices towards female officers. It's equally clear that women like Anna Cameron need a thick skin to survive, not just out on the uncompromising streets of Glasgow but also within the corridors of power at her own station and beyond. The other female lead is an ex-cop called Catherine Worth who left the force to raise a family, and her own psychological pressures of post-natal depression (coupled with her husband Jamie's reaction to it) are sensitively and sometimes uncomfortably drawn. Within all this is a story that could easily be taken from real-life events, so nothing glamourous - just a nasty violent murder of an elderly man and a series of assaults on a few prostitutes - but it only acts as a conduit for the real story that is a few weeks in the life of two women who either work for or who are married to the police force. Very much a character piece with highly effective imagery and (I believe) welcome use of local dialects within the dialogue.

This is an excellent novel, and the great news is that Karen gets better and better as she develops because the two follow-ups After the Fire and Shadowplay make for even more riveting reading. This lady can really tell a story - she's so under-rated and deserves a much wider audience. Recommended.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2008
Describing 'The Twilight Time' as a crime novel doesn't do this fantastic debut piece justice. Yes, the gritty fast paced plot is set in the murky depths of Glasgow's underworld of murder, violent assaults, prostitution,sectarianism and racial tension but in my opionn, this is merely a vivid backdrop to the true theme of the book, that of relationships.

Karen Campbell has demonstrated a brilliant talent with her portrait of two contrasting main characters and a host of others within the police community that gives readers an insight into the world of real policing and how the people involved cope with the stresses of work and home life.

Sgt Anna "ball breaker" Cameron is the highly ambitious female boss in a male dominated environment and her relationship with an ex-policeman, now stay at home mum, Cath shows an empathy for both the career woman and the housewife that is struggling with her sense of identity.

The way in which all the loose ends are tied up at the end was very impressive and although I found the twist in the tale very clever, my 5 star rating is mainly based on my admiration for the author's beautifully written web of relationships.

Thrilling plot, full of Glasgow banter and a fantastic cast of chracters, 'The Twilight Time' is the best book I've read in a very long time.

A wonderful first novel... can't wait for the next installment!
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on 30 June 2015
Outstanding. A well handled plot to hold things together, characterisation of great depth, and a tough realism. One of those books where I was sad to find the pages running out. This is the debut novel of a former police officer who will, in my opinion, do for Glasgow what Rankin did for Edinburgh.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 18 April 2008
I'm a slow reader, but this was pacy, sharp and believable, and I couldn't put it down. The characters were well drawn, warts and all, the relationships were realistically complex, and the plot was fast and neat, with a clever and satisfying climax.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I was really looking forward to this as normally Amazon reviews are a good indicator for me if I'm going to enjoy something.

Now, the book is well written, the characters are well defined and the settings are interesting. But hardly anything happens, at some points in the book I was loving it thinking yes, at last it's got going, but then we get back to pages and pages and pages of nothing much happening at all.

I will try more of this author's books, I believe she has one other, but I was somewhat disappointed with this. However, all the other reviews say it's magic, so maybe I'm missing something.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 8 September 2009
Could have done with a translation dictionary at times but on the whole seemed easy to grasp. I thought the main character went a bit over the top at times and you have to wonder if in real life things could happen like this but it is fiction and having commented like I have I did quite like it. Not quite the content it describes on the back but would be interested to read the next one.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 13 April 2008
I read this book in a weekend as I could not put it down. It is not a crime novel, yeah, it has police officers in it who have crimes to solve but it's the characters personal lives that are the captivating part of this novel. It is a brilliantly written book by a fantastic author. Lets hope she has many more novels like this one up her sleeve.
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