Review: Long Way Home by Eva Dolan


Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Vintage Digital, 2014. Format: Kindle Edition (1291 KB). First published in Great Britain in 2014 by Harvill Secker. ASIN: B00F5W7KG0. Epub ISBN: 9781448163304. Pages 400.

18586489The story opens when the body of a man is found charred in a garden shed and DI Zigic and DS Ferreira from the Peterborough Hate Crimes Unit are called in to investigate. The victim is tentatively identified as Jaan Stepulov, an Estonia beggar who used to take shelter there overnight in the last three weeks. The Barlows, in whose shed Stepulov’s body was found, have to go to the police station to testify. Their behaviour makes them suspects of concealing something. Police records show that Stepulov was charged with aggravated burglary when a man named Andrus Tombak caught him trying to break into his house, and Stepulov broke him his arm. However he was not arrested because Tombak refused to press charges against him. We will also find out that an unknown man was looking for him. As the investigation progresses many questions arise regarding the behaviour of Stepulov during the last months and new suspects appear. DI Zigic and DS Ferreira will have to get deep into the community of legal and illegal immigrants to uncover the truth.

Long Way Home is Eva Dolan’s debut novel in what appears to be the first in a series featuring DI Zigic and DS Ferreira. In fact, the second book, Tell No Tales, has just been published last 8 January by Harvill Secker. I’ll definitely buy it immediately taking into account how much I liked this one. The story is set in Peterborough. In an interview with Crime Fiction Lover, here, Eva Dolan explains why she chose this place:

‘Peterborough is one of those places most people only see through a train window, a relatively small, post-industrial city with very little to mark it out. Except that in the last 15 years it’s experienced a population boom thanks to the arrival of a hotly debated number of economic migrants, bound for jobs in agriculture and food processing. This makes Peterborough one of the first stops when the media wants to illustrate the immigration debate and a perfect setting for a crime novel exploring the precarious existence of many migrants.’

For my taste Long Way Home is a brilliant novel, very well written that openly deals with the always difficult issue of immigration and on the extreme conditions in which immigrants have to survive. As Rob Kitchin has pointed out: ‘The real strength of the book is the plot, which is a cleverly worked police procedural with a couple of nice twists and turns, and the contextualisation and gritty social realism with respect to working class neighbourhoods and the treatment of some immigrants to Britain. There’s are fine lines between hectoring, moralising tale and searing, gritty social realism, and between lived lives and criminal/immigrant stereotypes and caricatures.  Dolan understands the difference, managing to find the right balances and letting the injustice and morals of the tale speak for themselves.’ I can’t put it better. Highly recommended.

My rating: A+ (Don’t delay, get your hands on a copy of this book)

Long Way Home has been reviewed at The View from the Blue House (Rob), Crime Fiction Lover, Crime Squad, Crime Review, Crime Thriller Girl,

Vintage Books

Jenny Brown Associates 

The story behind Long Way Home by Eva Dolan

Interview: Eva Dolan

Interview with Eva Dolan 

What’s Your First Draft Like? – Eva Dolan

Long Way Home por Eva Dolan

La historia comienza cuando el cuerpo de un hombre es encontrado carbonizado en la caseta de un jardín y el DI Zigic y la DS Ferreira, de la Unidad de Crímenes Xenófobos de Peterborough son llamados a investigar. La víctima es identificada provisionalmente como Jaan Stepulov, un mendigo estonio que solía refugiarse allí por la noche en las últimas tres semanas. Los Barlow, en cuyo cobertizo fue encontrado el cuerpo de Stepulov, tienen que acudir a la comisaría a declarar. Su comportamiento los hace sospechosos de ocultar algo. Los registros policiales muestran que Stepulov fue acusado de robo con agravantes cuando un hombre llamado Andrus Tombak lo sorprendió tratando de entrar en su casa y Stepulov le rompió el brazo. Sin embargo no fue detenido porque Tombak se negó a presentar cargos contra él. También vamos a descubrir que un hombre desconocido le estaba buscando. A medida que la investigación avanza surgen muchas preguntas sobre el comportamiento de Stepulov en los últimos meses y aparecen nuevos sospechosos. El DI Zigic y la DS Ferreira tendrán que adentrarse en la comunidad de inmigrantes legales e ilegales para descubrir la verdad.

Long Way Home es la primera novela de Eva Dolan en la que parece ser la primera de una serie protagonizada por los detectives Zigic y Ferreira. De hecho, el segundo libro, Tell No Tales, acaba de ser publicado el pasado 8 de enero por Harvill Secker. Definitivamente voy a comprarlo inmediatamente teniendo en cuenta lo mucho que me ha gustado éste. La historia está ambientada en Peterborough. En una entrevista con Crime Fiction Lover, aquí, Eva Dolan explica por qué eligió este lugar:

‘Peterborough es uno de esos lugares que la mayoría de la gente sólo ve a través de la ventana del tren, una ciudad relativamente pequeña, post-industrial con muy poco que destacar. Salvo que en los últimos 15 años ha experimentado un incremento de población gracias a la llegada de un número muy controvertido de emigrantes económicos, con destino a puestos de trabajo agrícolas y en las industrias alimentarias. Esto hace de Peterborough una parada obligatoria cuando los medios de comunicación quiere ilustrar el debate sobre la inmigración y un escenario perfecto para que una novela negra explore la existencia precaria de muchos inmigrantes’. (Mi traducción libre)

Para mi gusto Long Way Home es una novela brillante, muy bien escrita, que trata abiertamente del tema, siempre difícil, de la inmigración y de las condiciones extremas en las que los inmigrantes tienen que sobrevivir. Como Rob Kitchin ha señalado: “La verdadera fuerza del libro reside en la trama, que trata de un procedimiento policial desarrollado con habilidad, con un par de buenos giros, y en la contextualización y el crudo realismo social por cuanto habla de los barrios humildes y del trato que dan a algunos de los inmigrantes a Gran Bretaña. Existe una delgada línea que separa la intimidación y el cuento moralizante del crudo y mordaz realismo social, y las vidas privadas de los estereotipos y caricaturas de crimianles/inmigrantes. Dolan entiende la diferencia, y consigue encontrar el equilibrio necesario para dejar que la injusticia y la moraleja de la historia hablen por si mismas.” (Mi traducción libre) No soy capaz de decirlo mejor. Muy recomendable.

Mi valoración: A+ (No se demore, consiga un ejemplar de este libro)

14 thoughts on “Review: Long Way Home by Eva Dolan

  1. Definitely going to get to this soon Jose, thanks for the reminder. I think every review I’ve read has been excellent. In fact, I have both books, but I’ll start at the beginning.

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  4. How did I miss your review of this one? One of my favourite discoveries this year – and I don’t say that because I know Eva. Glad you liked it – and the second one is pretty good too!

      1. I’m reading this at the moment, Jose. I’m not copying your reading schedule, I swear! I’m halfway through Endless Night – I’ve just been distracted by a book I’m reading for a blog tour – as it was a crime novel set in the exotic climes of Cambodia, I could not resist! So I’m reading everything piecemeal – a little bit here, a little bit there…I’ll get there in the end! I’ve got Tell No Tales, it looks great!

    1. Are you going to review them Marina? Would love to hear your thoughts. My Dad’s farmer friends in the East coast of Scotland, who grow potatoes and berries, employ all immigrants, as the locals don’t want the work, they’ve found. It’s hard work, but some of the berry pickers make up to £1000 a week – which is great. But there are always those who take advantage, insert themselves into the deal, and act as “gangmasters”. They’ve got to know these men locally, and take nothing to do with them – but there are always people with less scruples. As for all the UKIP mob who talk about “their” jobs being stolen – I’d love to see them cope with even one week of tattie picking or strawberry picking! Anyway, politics…best shut up! Enough of it in the UK atm.

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