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The Hunger Trace. by Edward Hogan
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The main characters introduced in Smith's debut, Child 44, continue their ferocious saga to find love and consolation against a backdrop of the totalitarian Soviet state. In 1956, copies of Khrushchev's anti-Stalin speech are delivered to officials responsible for the purges and repressions, thus releasing a new round of murders and suicides. At the same time, a second plot twines with the first as ex-lovers from Child 44 grapple in a macabre contest of vengeance and hate. Smith has proven his brutal touch when describing human conflict. With this thriller, he offers a fierce account of fighting onboard a storm-wracked prison ship on the Sea of Okhotsk-a hair-raising scene, alone worth the cost of the book. For all popular collections; be ready for short-term demand owing to heavy promotion. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/09.]-Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

About the Author

Edward Hogan was born in Derby in 1980 and now lives in Brighton. He is a graduate of the MA creative writing course at UEA and a recipient of the David Higham Award. His first novel, Blackmoor, was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award, the Dylan Thomas Prize and won the Desmond Elliot Prize.

Reviews

The main characters introduced in Smith's debut, Child 44, continue their ferocious saga to find love and consolation against a backdrop of the totalitarian Soviet state. In 1956, copies of Khrushchev's anti-Stalin speech are delivered to officials responsible for the purges and repressions, thus releasing a new round of murders and suicides. At the same time, a second plot twines with the first as ex-lovers from Child 44 grapple in a macabre contest of vengeance and hate. Smith has proven his brutal touch when describing human conflict. With this thriller, he offers a fierce account of fighting onboard a storm-wracked prison ship on the Sea of Okhotsk-a hair-raising scene, alone worth the cost of the book. For all popular collections; be ready for short-term demand owing to heavy promotion. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/09.]-Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Set in 1956, bestseller Smith's edgy second thriller to feature Leo Demidov (after Child 44) depicts the paranoia and instability of the Soviet Union after the newly installed Khrushchev regime leaks a "secret speech" laying out Stalin's brutal abuses. Now working as a homicide detective, Leo has long since repudiated his days as an MGB officer, but his former colleagues, fearful of reprisals from their victims, have begun taking their own lives. Leo himself becomes the target of Fraera, the wife of a priest he imprisoned. Now the leader of a violent criminal gang, Fraera kidnaps Leo's daughter, Zoya, and threatens to kill Zoya if Leo doesn't liberate her husband from his gulag prison. Shifting from Moscow to Siberia and to a Hungary convulsed by revolution, this fast-paced novel is packed with too many incidents for Smith to dwell on any in great depth. Though its drama often lacks emotional resonance, this story paints a memorable portrait of post-Stalinist Russia at its dawn. (May) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

'All [the characters] are essentially lost souls faced with wounds that will never heal -- yet Hogan does a fine job of making us not just root for them, but genuinely enjoy their company... the unaffected quirkiness and sheer good-heartedness... definitely confirms him as a writer to watch' Daily Mail 'Powerful and original... men and women confront each other and are revealed to be both pathetic and admirable, strange but strangely human... Hogan's deft, laconic style moves us swiftly from scene to scene, visiting past and present, alternating comic and dramatic exchanges with fine descriptions of landscape, detailed accounts of animal husbandry and set pieces of close observation... An impressive work, grimly bawdy, tense and moving' The Sunday Times 'Hogan's considerable powers of description convince the reader... evocations of landscape and wildlife have a particular vividness' TLS 'The Hunger Trace shows Hogan's talent developing further. There's a village in peril here too, but the main focus lies with the characters. Hogan's writing illuminates their inner lives with startling clarity. In the novel's latter sections, it is as if Hogan sets them free to perform as an ensemble, bouncing off each other in order to take the story where it must go. The narrative is supported with acute descriptive prose, with the Derbyshire landscape a constant refrain... Hogan's talent for depicting atmospheric, grainy settings does lend itself to a grand mise-en-scene... The Hunger Trace is an extended trope upon the dynamics of love and affection: of what can happen both when they are offered, and when they are withheld' Independent 'This is a novel of secrets, of things buried deep in the long grass of the landscape, and Hogan manages to keep these both mysterious and intriguing. The writing is beautifully exact, and the evocation of the surroundings mesmerising. It is a book that demands to be read' Booktrust UK http://www.booktrust.org.uk/show/book/Books we like/The-Hunger-Trace 'It's one of Hogan's strengths that he can write with such bleakly beautiful romanticism about an area not exactly over-documented in popular fiction... Seductive, the early sections charged with a sense of emotional claustrophobia within the wilderness... Gripping... impressive' Metro 'The shocking revelation of a childhood secret and the poignant search for human warmth in the midst of strained relationships help make this a rich and moving second novel' Waterstone's Books Quarterly, March issue 'A soaring, unconventional book in which stunted emotional growth and lack of fulfilment are striking themes... Superb passages of nature writing. Louisa's sense of oneness with her falcons recalls Barry Hines's classic A Kestrel for a Knave or TH White's The Goshawk, and, in Louisa herself, the supremely solitary figure of Emily Bronte with her pet hawk' Daily Telegraph 'Hogan is only 30 but has the look of a writer of whom more will be heard. His prose is devoid of flamboyance but he has taken a situation and developed it with real psychological acuity' Mail on Sunday 'Dreamy mix of the banal and the numinous infuses a book in which the real star of the show is the place being written about... It's a persuasive central message in an elegant, compelling story...a gripping book' Sarah Crown, Guardian 23/4 'For all its very English concerns -- rural life, weather, tight lips -- Edward Hogan's taut second novel, The Hunger Trace, stakes out a territory of high emotion... Hogan excels at tracing unspoken dramas between characters... The attention to feeling and language is commensurate with the author's eye for physical detail. In an unshowy way he fills the novel with rich descriptions... wittily revealing the unpleasant as well as the pretty... The pleasure of The Hunger Trace lies in its precision. Even as the pace quickens Hogan doesn't lose sight of accuracy. Like the falcons whose flight he catches so crisply, the prose is lean and strict, with movements of surprising beauty' Literary Review 'Hogan excels at tracing unspoken drama between characters, catching the shifts in temperature... In an unshowy way he fills the novel with rich descriptions... The pleasure of The Hunger Trace lies in its precision. Even as the pace quickens Hogan doesn't lose sight of accuracy. Like the falcons whose flight he catches so crisply, the prose is lean and strict, with movements of surprising beauty' Ed Behrens, Literary Review, May issue

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