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The House of Dust
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The House of Dust


‘Johnston makes the well-worn idea of crime in a crime-free world fascinating by wrapping it inside layers of political intrigue and subterfuge…as much a commentary on contemporary England as it is a stylish mystery.’ Publishers Weekly

"In a series of highly original books set a couple of decades in the future, Paul Johnston has created a portrait of the post-Enlightenment city-state of Edinburgh, whose inhabitants' drab lives are controlled by a secretive little group of dour Guardians. Despite the grimness of the setting, the books are always entertaining, in part because of the unsquashably rebellious personality of Johnston's maverick sleuth, Quint Dalrymple, and the sardonic humour which enlivens the narrative. There's less humour, though, in the latest, The House of Dust, in which Quint is sent to New Oxford to hunt the killer of a Guardian. The prosperous, well-run city is a stunning contrast to his home, but behind the high-tech facade he makes horrific discoveries. It's another fine example of great storytelling" Sunday Telegraph

"Johnston's plotting is consummate and his characterisation deft. He is also a very funny political satirist so that although The House of Dust is set in the future he is, of course, commenting on Scotland and England today. Very enjoyable" Observer

"Paul Johnston's way of tackling the questions of class, justice and political exploitation is particularly interesting. He has chosen the late 2020s as the setting for his grimly brilliant dystopian novels. His class system is gratifyingly different from those we know. In his latest, The House of Dust, he takes Quintilian Dalrymple from the independent city-state of Edinburgh to New Oxford, anchoring the ghastly future to what we know with references to real events and ideas from the last few decades. In this chilling novel, he shows how the good intentions of intelligent thinkers can, when imposed by force, be as monstrously destructive as the selfish greed of organised crime gangs, and that the only bulwark against such damage is the courage and determination of free individuals. These are big themes, tackled in a refreshingly unpompous way" Natasha Cooper, Crime Time

"Cleverly developed...Swiftian satire" The Sunday Times

"Johnston mixes political comment and suspense-filled drama with sci-fi musings, creating an enjoyable ride" The List

"Johnston's deft pacing, measured plot and finely fleshed characters make for a gripping page turner" South London Press

"Johnston's latest literary stab in the underbelly of contemporary politics has a chilling topicality in its tale of genetically- modified humans and of administrative devolution taken to extremes. It is also a rattlingly good thriller, combining golden age detective fiction with barbed satire as its memorable sleuth tackles a murder mystery which, for the first time in the series, takes him south of the border" Birmingham Sunday Mercury

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