Death of a Bookseller by Alice Slater #review @alicemjslater @hodderfiction

Death of a Bookseller by  Alice Slater

Title: Death of a Bookseller
Alice Slater
Publisher: Scarlet


Roach – bookseller, loner and true crime obsessive – is not interested in making friends. She has all the company she needs in her serial killer books, murder podcasts and her pet snail, Bleep.

That is, until Laura joins the bookshop.

Smelling of roses, with her cute literary tote bags and beautiful poetry, she’s everyone’s new favourite bookseller. But beneath the shiny veneer, Roach senses a darkness within Laura, the same darkness Roach possesses.

As Roach’s curiosity blooms into morbid obsession, it becomes clear that she is prepared to infiltrate Laura’s life at any cost.

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My review:

This is a book that completely gripped me. It’s got some arguable unlikeable characters, but this only adds to its appeal in my mind, and ultimately they are people you want to read more about.

In Death of a Bookseller, we flick between the perspectives of Roach, an anti-social, true crime-obsessed young woman who works at the same bookshop as Laura, our other voice, a poet and popular fellow team member who has just joined the team. Roach becomes obsessed with Laura with conflicting feelings – she seems to both revere and hate her.

The story doesn’t actually focus that much on death, despite the title, although Roach is absolutely mad about true crime and death in general, whilst Laura has a family history that, unfortunately, has had its fair share of death. We know that Laura is murdered from the beginning of the book, but then we go back in time to observe how this happened and the relationship between Roach and Laura, and between them and other booksellers too – it focuses more on this than the murder element of the book.

I loved the characters in this novel. They are flawed in their actions and their treatment of others, which I often find intriguing in a book – who wants perfect, angelic characters? – and they felt well-rounded. I thought the deteriorating mental health of some of the characters was really powerful. I would have liked to learn more about Roach’s background, but we do understand some of why she behaves the way she does, and the colleagues in the shop made for a great supporting cast.

The story focuses on the characters and isn’t really an action-packed novel if that’s what you’re looking for. Death of a Bookseller is a slow-burning psychological thriller with dark undertones, set in the best kind of place – a bookshop! What more could you want?!

My rating: 4.5/5

Many thanks to the publisher, Scarlet, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest review.


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