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What I’m Reading: Ava Marsh

Ava Marsh is a former broadsheet journalist and author of the new psychological thriller Untouchable. When a fellow call girl is murdered, escort Stella has to decide whether to forget what she’s seen or risk everything to get justice for her friend.

We all know that when crime authors aren’t writing, they’re probably reading! We asked Ava to tell us about what she’s currently reading and what she loves about it.

Over to Ava:

“I’d heard of Tom Rob Smith and the success of Child 44, but had never got around to reading any of his books. But then I came across this description of The Farm on Audible: ‘If you refuse to believe me, I will no longer consider you my son… With a single phone call, everything changes. Your mother… she’s not well, his father tells him. She’s been imagining things – terrible, terrible things.’ Sold to the woman in need of a good read. Or rather a good listen.

It was 9 hours and 23 minutes very well spent. First, I’ve a soft spot for Sweden, so I loved the beautiful descriptions of the countryside and the people. Even better was the novel’s relentlessly creepy atmosphere. Told as a dual narrative between 29-year-old Daniel and his Swedish mother Tilde, it focuses on her unwitting isolation in rural Sweden, in what proves to be a deeply weird and xenophobic community. It’s one of those subtle, shifting affairs, my favourite sort of novel, a deep exploration of the mind of its central characters, which has you constantly trying to work out who’s truthful and who’s lying, who’s sane and who’s mad, who’s honest and who’s gone to the bad.

I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is, like me, fascinated by human psychology, and anyone who likes to savour the slow unfolding of some central mystery or dilemma. It’s a hard book to define, not fitting neatly into either the thriller category or crime. But then I love stories that defy easy categorisation, because usually they are all the more interesting for it.

In a recent interview, Rob Smith said that ‘in writing you can retreat from the muddle’. Which was deliciously ironic, given there’s so much muddle in The Farm. And the ending surprised me – I wasn’t aware of the real events behind the story so didn’t see it coming at all – yet on reflection found it far more fitting than the more grisly, conventional alternative.”

A huge thank you to Ava Marsh for her time! Ava’s debut novel Untouchable is out now in ebook format and is published in paperback on 13th August.

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