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by Minette Walters
G. P.Putnam's Sons, June 2002
ISBN: 0399148620

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In Minette Walters' eighth novel, she tackles a contemporary issue head-on - that of the rehousing of paedophiles. Everyone in Britain is certain to remember the controversy that raged following the murder of Sarah Payne and the subsequent News Of The World newspaper campaign to name and shame every paedophile in Britain. Walters use this as part of the plot for this novel.

Sophie Morrison is a young doctor visiting a patient in Acid Row, one of the worst housing estates anyone is ever likely to come across. It is full of single mothers, drunken youths, violence, robbery and numerous other crimes and examples of social deprivation. The problem with Sophie's patient is that he is a known paedophile, but Sophie is ignorant of this fact. She is also unaware that a protest march is about to start, a protest march that quickly becomes a riot and a terrifying siege. Will she survive?

Once again, Minette Walters has succeeded in writing a captivating novel. From the first page to the last, 'Acid Row' grabs your attention and never lets go. Rather than writing a traditional mystery, as some of her other novels, such as 'The Ice House' have been, Walters has chosen to write a thriller that tackles social issues unflinchingly. For this reason, the book may not appeal to some as much as her traditional stuff, but even so, Walters has created an interesting mix of characters, combining multiple narrators and points of view.

She also tries hard to make the novel as authentic as possible, including examples of police reports and newspaper articles, as though she were dealing with fact and not fiction. At first, I could not see how she could manage to make a whole book out of events that took place in such a short period of time, but there is no problem with that. The book moves along at a fast pace and the reader's attention should never be lost. This is another triumph for Walters and I highly recommend it.

Note: This is a review of the UK edition which was published in December of 2001.

Reviewed by Luke Croll, June 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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