ISBN is

978-0-307-27707-7 / 0307277070

The Devil's Feather (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)

by Walters, Minette

Publisher:Vintage

Edition:Softcover

Language:English

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About the book:

Sometimes, an author is obliged to change pace when their usual territory is becoming over-farmed  not least by themselves. And at first glance, The Devils Feather would appear to represent a radical new direction for Minette Walters. But -- wait a minute -- why would Walters need to dip into a new genre of novel? After all, she is now unquestionably in the upper echelons of British crime queens, quite as successful as P D James and Ruth Rendell at mining darker psychological territory, with (in her case) a strong sociological underpinning. Such books as Acid Row and Fox Evil have been bitter pictures of Britain as much as they have been crime novels. The Devils Feather is more ambitious than any of her preceding work, notably in the massive international canvas (including a war-torn country) that is the novel's backdrop.

Five women have been savagely killed in the Sierra Leone conflict. Connie Burns is a correspondent for Reuters who asks awkward questions about the arrest of three young soldiers accused of the crime. Their forced confessions (after savage beatings) count for little in the middle of the Civil War, and Connie's theory -- that the murders were committed by a foreigner indulging his own sanguinary fantasies in the middle of a war -- proves to be very dangerous for her. Her attempts to track the killer down bring catastrophe on her own head, and she is forced to escape, going to ground in Dorset and dealing with the psychic scars she has been left with. It is, of course, inevitable that she will be tracked down even in the safety of the English countryside by her implacable opponent.

As the foregoing conveys, this is very different territory from that which Walters has made her own, but she proves equally adept at the International blockbuster thriller as at any of her more tightly focused British novels. It goes without saying that the character portrayal (notably of the terrified Connie) is an on-the-nail as ever, and the considerable tension engendered by The Devils Feather may glean a whole new legion of readers for Walters. --Barry Forshaw

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