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The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox

“An instant classic, a work to rank alongside other modern masterpieces of fantasy such as Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials” – The Guardian

Guardian Best Book of 2020

Irish Times Best Crime Fiction of 2020

Times Book of the Month

Mail on Sunday Thriller of the Month

The Spectator Crime Fiction of the Month

Crime Time Book of the Year 2020

The first time I met Harold Challenor, he frisked me for weapons -
I was ten years old.

Bent is the explosive story of the rise and fall of SAS commando, and notorious Detective Sergeant, Harold 'Tanky' Challenor.

During the Second World War, Challenor was parachuted behind enemy lines into Italy and France, performing remarkable feats of bravery.

In the grimy underbelly of 1960s Soho, he was a ferocious and controversial presence, mediating between factions of club owners and racketeers, and cultivating informers.

But just how far will he go to break the protection gang that has a grip on his manor?

It can be a fine line that divides hero and villain.


'Brilliant' The Times

'Feverish energy' Guardian

'Wonderfully vivid' Mail on Sunday

'Sophisticated, dizzying' GQ

'Vivid and visceral' The Times

'Superbly realised...vivid and atmospheric' Guardian

'Original' Mail on Sunday

'A stylish, atmospheric inspired blend of David Peace and early Pinter' Irish Times

'Sparse, energetic, fragmented prose' The Spectator

'Vibrant, colourful, and complex' Irish Independent

'Stylish, sharp-witted, taut. A must for modern noir fans' NB Magazine

'Definitive...confident and energetic' Crime Time

'Brilliant...manic energy' Jake Arnott

'Wildly stylish and hugely entertaining' Lucy Caldwell

'Vivid, stylish, funny' Mick Herron

'Gripping, fast-paced, darkly atmospheric' Susanna Jones

'Snappy, thoughtful, moving' John King

'Exciting, fresh, incredibly assured' Stav Sherez

'Happy days!' Mark Timlin

'Utterly brilliant' Cathi Unsworth

'Had James Ellroy and David Peace collaborated on a novel...they'd have written something like this' Paul Willets

More Information
Book publisherArcadia Books
Publication date30 Apr 2020
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