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Showing posts from April, 2013


On the face of it, Swear Down is something of a postmodern triumph: fractured narratives – check; multiple voices – check; time and place distorted – check. If that sounds like there's a lot going on, it’s testament to Russ Litten’s skill as a straight-up storyteller that it moves effortlessly and with pace, telling its very modern tale of death on a Hackney Council estate and the two men who confess to brutal and bloody murder. Each with their own apparent motive, each spinning their own myth in a series of police interview transcripts. You believe one, then the other, but you do believe.
Holding plot and possibility together is Detective Sergeant Peter Ndekwe. Sharing a stage in Cleethorpes with Litten last year, he described the process of creating Ndekwe and the research that went into understanding the process of police investigation, feeding in the procedural elements and keeping Ndekwe real. He has to be: his is the pulse of the novel, the uneasy inquisitor with a point to …