An atmospheric debut novel set in 1970s Leeds and Sheffield when attacks on women punctuated the news
'Vividly portrays the human face of young women on the margins of society, women who defy being statistics, who have their own stories and loves to tell' Sophie Ward
It is 1973 and Jude - known to her friends as Toto - has just graduated from art school and moves into a house in a run-down part of Leeds. Jude is a chaotic wild child who flirts with the wrong kind of people, drinks too much and gets stoned too often. Never happy to stay in one place for very long, her restlessness takes her on hitchhiking jaunts up and down the country. Her best friend, Nel, is the only steady influence Jude has but Nel's life isn't as perfect as it seems.
Reports of attacks on women punctuate the news and Jude takes off again, suffocated by an affair she has been having with a married woman. But what she doesn't realise is that the violence is moving ever closer to home: there is Janice across the road who lives in fear of being beaten up again by her pimp and Nel, whose perfect life is coming undone at her boyfriend's hands. At the same time infamous murderers, Fred and Rosemary West, are stalking the country, on the lookout for girls like Jude.
An exhilarating novel, so evocative of the lives of broke, hedonistic art graduates in the 70s and all the joy and recklessness of youth. I was gripped also by the darkness and predatory threats circling these characters, who think themselves so invulnerable, and yet are anything but - Susan Barker, author of The Incarnations
Vividly portrays the human face of young women on the margins of society, women who defy being statistics, who have their own stories and loves to tell - Sophie Ward
Moments of startling beauty and heart-wrenching tenderness. The author's skill in portraying so much brutality with such a lightness of touch is truly impressive. The writing engages from the get-go with crisp dialogue, deft depictions of time and place and sharp observations of human behaviour . . . I relished every page - Emma Henderson
My favourite kind of book. A tense literary thriller grounded in the urgent mess of real lives in the 1970s, where a compelling sense of threat lurks behind every paragraph. Toto Among The Murderers captures an England ill-at-ease with itself full of people who don't know what they want, but they know it isn't this. This is a novel that introduces an assured writer, someone interested in lives that are often over-looked from a neglected period of recent history - Stephen May