Death of a Bookseller

Alice Slater

Death of a Bookseller
Hodder & Stoughton
United Kingdom
26 April 2023

Death of a Bookseller

Alice Slater

A bookshop. A true crime case. A deadly friendship. The unmissable debut thriller.

Roach - bookseller, loner and true crime obsessive - is not interested in making friends. She has all the company she needs in her serial killer books, murder podcasts and her pet snail, Bleep.

That is, until Laura joins the bookshop.

Smelling of roses, with her cute literary tote bags and beautiful poetry, she's everyone's new favourite bookseller. But beneath the shiny veneer, Roach senses a darkness within Laura, the same darkness Roach possesses.

As Roach's curiosity blooms into morbid obsession, it becomes clear that she is prepared to infiltrate Laura's life at any cost.


If you’ve picked up Death of a Bookseller hoping for a cosy crime read featuring a bespectacled protagonist with a penchant for cardigans, you will be sadly disappointed. If, however, you’ve picked up Death of a Bookseller expecting a slow-burning thriller that presents an uncomfortable insight into the mind of a psychopath, then you have the correct book in your hand.

Laura Bunting is a part of a crack team of booksellers who’ve been brought in by head office to try and save the ailing Walthamstow branch of Spines bookstores. With her winged eyeliner, vintage dresses and hand-rolled cigarettes, she’s the archetypal Bookstore Girl, but her sunny disposition starts to crack when she encounters her new co-worker Brogan Roach (‘like the bug’). Roach is everything Laura is not – sullen and solitary, with a pet snail and a macabre obsession with true crime podcasts and serial killers. But Laura and Roach have more in common than expected. They’re yin and yang, dark and light, two sides of the same coin, and what draws them together is murder.

Alice Slater’s debut is a disquieting, at times nauseating novel with a carefully paced story that ratchets up to a propulsive climax. It features one of the most unsavoury first-person narrators I’ve encountered, and an unsettling denouement that kept the book in my mind for days after I finished it. Ripe for adaptation for the screen, this is a perfect read for fans of You and Killing Eve.

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