The Distance – Helen Giltrow


Published May 2014 by Orion

Charlotte Alton has put her old life behind her. The life where she bought and sold information, unearthing secrets buried too deep for anyone else to find, or fabricating new identities for people who need their histories erased.

But now she has been offered one more job. To get a hit-man into an experimental new prison and take out someone who according to the records isn’t there at all.

It’s impossible. A suicide mission. And quite possibly a set-up.

So why can’t she say no?

Book Description

A blistering debut thriller that introduces the coolest heroine in contemporary suspense fiction.

About the Author

Helen Giltrow was born and brought up in Cheltenham and read Modern History at Christ Church, Oxford. She has worked extensively in publishing, including ten years as a commissioning editor for Oxford University Press. Helen’s writing has been shortlisted for the CRIME WRITERS’ ASSOCIATION DEBUT DAGGER AWARD and the TELEGRAPH ‘NOVEL IN A YEAR’ COMPETITION. She lives in Oxford.

My thoughts

This book has everything you could possibly want in a thriller; spies, a hitman with a conscience, nasty violence, an experimental prison and a rather interesting strong female lead with a secret identity.

Charlotte Alton lives a double life, as a bored wealthy socialite and the enigmatic ‘Karla’ who helps people disappear into thin air. Charlotte/Karla is asked by an old associate, Simon, to help him enter an experimental prison to murder an inmate. The experimental prison is a nightmarish place, where the prisoners are allowed to do whatever they want. It is incredibly odd and nasty, like civilization has stepped back to pure brutality. Simon takes his life into his hands seeking out his target. He has a three week deadline to identify and kill his victim.

‘The Distance’ is one of those clever gripping reads, that takes you into the world of Karla and makes you believe in it. Both Karla and Simon Johanssen are fascinating characters. I found myself warming to them quickly, even though there is a sense of moral ambiguity surrounding them. Simon is a killer, after all. But he is very likeable and complex, as we find out from his back story. And Karla will do whatever she has to do, to survive and to protect her friend. It is a joy to see her coming to Simon’s rescue. We get both of their perspectives, during the course of the novel and it adds to the tension and excitement.

This is an intelligent dark thriller from debut author, Helen Giltrow. I hope we get more of Charlotte/Karla in the future because she is rather intriguing and special.

Thanks to Helen Giltrow for sending me a review copy of her book!


About Northern Crime

Reviewer with a mind of her own. This is a collection of book reviews, which started in 2014. Mostly crime and odd other genres thrown in. Some I loved. Some I loathed. You get the picture.
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4 Responses to The Distance – Helen Giltrow

  1. crimeworm says:

    I do like the sound of this, and have read several good reviews. Must track it down!

  2. crimeworm says:

    Thanks, Geoff! Good to know.

  3. Pingback: The Distance BLOG TOUR | northerncrime

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