Backlash, Michael Shew, book review: ‘Fast-paced story with a well-crafted plot’

Local author Michael Shew. Photograph: courtesy The Book Guild

Violence against women is the subject of Hackney-based writer Michael Shew’s ambitious new thriller Backlash.

Emily is trying to forge a life for herself and her daughter Lily after her husband Robert is jailed for murdering a colleague and nearly killing Emily herself.

When a shadowy right-wing movement emerges in support of Robert’s plight, her world threatens to come undone.

Emily is supported by her solicitor Julie, and friendship soon turns to romance. But Julie has her own demons, and it is not long before their new love is under threat.

One of the most refreshing things about the novel is the warts-and-all realness of the characters.

Shew is careful to show that women too are capable of violence, casual cruelty and deceit, and that there are plenty of men who truly deplore misogyny.

If you fear the topic of the novel might be too worthy to be fun, don’t worry; this is a fast-paced story with a well-crafted plotline that keeps the pages moving.

There is a certain lack of verbal subtlety in the prose, making the book perhaps most suitable for a teen audience. But many adults will also find plenty to like in the vivid depiction of how extremist groups can wreak havoc on people’s lives.

Backlash by Michael Shew is published by The Book Guild. RRP: £9.99. ISBN: 978-1-915122-36-0.