The Singer’s Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

Emily St. John Mandel wrote the wonderful Station Eleven and I hadn’t heard anyone else talk about her other works until The Singer’s Gun was chosen as one of this month’s book club choices at my local Waterstones.

This is definitely not a book I would have picked up of my own accord just purely based on the synopsis.

After shaking off an increasingly dangerous venture with his cousin, Anton Waker has spent years constructing an honest life for himself. But then a routine security check brings his past crashing back towards him. His marriage and career in ruins, Anton finds himself in Italy with one last job from his cousin. But there is someone on his tail and they are getting closer . . .

The Singer’s Gun follows Anton, Alex Broden – a detective on the trail of a people trafficker, and Elena, caught up in the investigation against her will. Taut and thrilling, it is a novel about identity and loyalty, and the things we are willing to sacrifice for love.

This is not the sort of book I would usually gravitate towards but I’m so glad that I have read it.

Mandel’s writing is just as simple yet beautiful as it is in Station Eleven but with a haunting undertone that leaves the reader eager to read on. The plot itself is intricate and told in a non-linear style. This mixing of the characters’ timelines adds to the mystery and reveals small details slowly, building up to the bigger picture as the story progresses.

Overall this was a short but detailed novel about family, crime, lies and betrayal that really sucked me in. It was one of those books that I was thinking about when I was away from it. The only problem I had with it was that the ending was exactly how I wanted it to turn out but I can’t help but feel like there could have been more. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am looking forward to discussing it as part of the book club next month.

5 out of 5 stars!

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