The House of Journalists by Tim Finch
Located in a London terrace, the House of Journalists is a refuge for writers exiled from their home nations due to conflicts of interest with their oppressive regimes. Tim Finch's novel traces the story of the house's inhabitants, just as mysterious new lodger AA arrives on the scene. One of the most impressive aspects of the book is the ease and authenticity with which the author manages to slip into a character's voice: from the overbearing leader of the organisation, Julian; through to the elderly Mr Stan, body crippled through genetics and corporal punishment; and the unwanted intruder of Edward Crumb, an outside journalist sceptical of the house's validity and with more than a touch of Christopher Hitchens in his pronouncements.
The realism of the political aspects of the book come as no surprise when one learns Finch works for London think-tank, The Institute for Public Policy Research, and was a BBC political journalist. His prose is efficient and engaging, and the unfolding story of a rupture at the heart of the house is well-handled. There are moments when it feels as if things could move faster, or that it's missing a greater sense of drama, but generally The House of Journalists is an engaging debut. [Ryan Rushton]