#Blogour Brand New Friend by Kate Vane @k8vane

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Brand New Friend by Kate Vane   June 5th 2018

If you wish to purchase the novel just click on the link below. For a limited time only it is just 99p to purchase the Amazon Kindle version

https://mybook.to/brandnewfriend

BBC foreign correspondent Paolo Bennett is exiled to a London desk – and the Breakfast sofa – when he gets a call from Mark, a friend from university in eighties Leeds. Paolo knew Mark as a dedicated animal rights activist but now a news blog has exposed him as an undercover police officer. Then Mark’s former police handler is murdered.

Paolo was never a committed campaigner. He was more interested in women, bands and dreaming of a life abroad. Now he wonders if Mark’s exposure and his handler’s death might be linked to an unexplained death on campus back when they were friends. What did he miss?

Paolo wants the truth – and the story. He chases up new leads and old friends. From benefit gigs and peace protests, to Whatsapp groups and mocktail bars, the world has changed, but Mark still seems the same.

Is Mark the spy who never went back – who liked his undercover life better than his own? Or is he lying now? Is Paolo’s friend a murderer?

My Review

I remember my students days quite vividly, but I am not sure how pleased I would be if a person from those days contacted me and I wound up involved in murder and intrigue. This is exactly what happens to Paolo, taking him on a journey back to the past and a host of people he thought he might never see again.

It’s always interesting to see how authors handle a dual timeline and even more intriguing to see how the two will finally meet. It requires an author of great skill to make the two seem seamless and I have to say that is exactly what Vane achieved. I loved the way she linked the characters from the past to the present, in a complex plotline that she handled with ease.

Paolo, as a character was interesting, from his name change from an ordinary Paul to a glittering career as a TV journalist with the BBC. I particularly like the insights into the workings of a BBC journalist but am not sure BBC Breakfast would be pleased with Vane’s portrayal. I got the impression that Paolo had somehow lost sight of what being a journalist meant for himself and that his involvement with his old friend Mark and subsequent events took him back to his roots, giving him a renewed appreciation for those on the less glamorous side of the profession.

I enjoyed that we got to see how the characters evolved from their student days to  the present, how the events during those mad days in Leeds had affected them and their lives.

Vane kept me firmly on the toes with an extremely intricate plot, throwing in a few red herrings along the way, that spun me first one way and then another. I did think I had worked it all out at one point, but oh no, Vane threw in another twist that had me reeling and rethinking my theories. The last few twists towards the end were particularly good and I was pleased that I had not guessed as this added a little more drama and tension to the novel.

Brand New Friend tackled some serious environmental issues from animal testing to fracking. It would have been quite easy for Vane to overload the narrative with biased viewpoints, and positive and negative opinions but to her credit Vane maintained a balance that didn’t drown out the plotline, but instead added an extra dramatic dimension.

Brand New Friend is a novel driven by characters, it is fast paced, intricate and utterly compelling, and I enjoyed it immensely.

I would like to thank Kate Vane for inviting me to read and review Brand New Friend and for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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I’m an independent author living in Devon. I have published three novels, The Former Chief Executive, Not the End and Recognition.

I have written for BBC drama Doctors and have had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday.

Kate Vane

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