Book Review: A Matter of Life and Death by Matt Carrell

What makes a good crime thriller? In short a book which has good pace, characters that all make creditable suspects and a plot with twists and turns that keep you guessing right till the end; a book that you can’t put down as you want to know what happens next. And on that score, Matt Carrell’s A Matter of Life and Death, fits the bill.

Set in the fictional town of Coldharbour, its football club has risen to the Premier League under the chairmanship of local businessman Jack Enright. However, with the club struggling against relegation and with heavy investment needed, Russian billionaire Dimitri Koloschenko purchases the club. Coldharbour is also struggling off the pitch, as a spate of killings takes place and throws the town into turmoil. These two stories are the central plotlines for the book.

From a football perspective Carrell uses the book to get across his view on the modern game. The new Russian chairman at Coldharbour represents many of the foreign owners in the English game for whom the club is merely an extension of their business empire and who invariably have little regard for the fans or traditions of a club. The author ably demonstrates through the book and its characters that football today is a game driven and motivated by greed.

The media also is scrutinised in the guise of Coldharbour’s newspaper editor Toby Thomas; a man who is happy to publish a sleaze-filled tabloid, fuelled by backhanders to anybody willing to take them. It is also a media which deals in hype, and so dubs Coldharbour Town’s promising youngster, the “new Gareth Bale”.

Carrell creates a world that is grim, from the name of the fictional town, its club battling with relegation, to characters that all seem to be struggling in one way or another with their lives. This creates a fitting backdrop to the murders in a book that will provide football fans and crime thriller readers alike with a satisfying conclusion.


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Posted February 21, 2015 by Editor in category "Reviews

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