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Not in my Name by Michael Coolwood is an interesting mix of political fantasy and murder mystery. It is earnest and passionate but quite straightforwardly written, which makes it also suitable for younger adult readers. The plot revolves around a group of activists living in a commune in an imaginary version of 2003. Each of the group has their own reasons for being there and their own personal problems that they have brought with them. The trust and camaraderie that the group feel towards each other is suddenly put in jeopardy, however, when they discover that they have been infiltrated and then...the murders begin. The writer has cleverly used authentic but edited contemporary quotes from public figures, applying them to a different situation, thus underlining his premise that politicians will say, do, promise almost anything in order to gain or remain in power, a very high profile scenario happening right now in the U.S. The book is also timely in the descriptions of the way the activists are treated at the hands of the police, very reminiscent of the BLM protests. The ending is slightly unexpected but perfectly reasoned and inevitable, going a long way to restore the reader's faith in human nature and family ties. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
PHOEBE GREEN is an anti-war activist in an alternate 2003 where Tony Blair held a referendum to determine whether the UK should go to war with Iraq. The pro-war side won by 52% to the anti-war side's 48%. The nation is split. Political tensions are running high with accusations that the Yes side manipulated the referendum. Phoebe is at a protest with her fellow activists CASSIE, XIA, VINCE, PAULA, GUS, LIAM, her ex-boyfriend SEFU and her sister MEL, when they are all arrested except Cassie and Paula. Hours later, Phoebe is interrogated by the police and is informed that Cassie has been murdered. Phoebe has trouble coping and decides to try to solve Cassie's murder in order to maintain some sense of control. The activists tidy up in the wake of a police raid, and Liam tells Phoebe that malicious gossip will be emerging about him soon. Phoebe calls a friendly lawyer, ERYL, who offers to follow up with some of her contacts about Cassie's murder. Phoebe and Mel clean out Cassie's room. Phoebe finds a strange piece of paper containing the addresses of several men named RICHARD LAMPART. Phoebe goes to the pub where Cassie was murdered, where she learns the attack was far from random, as the police claimed. On her return, Sefu tells Phoebe that he spotted strangers on the farm, away from the house. Phoebe and Sefu see Vince being attacked by a right-wing agitator who they recognise from PATRIOT'S UNITE, a far-right organisation. Phoebe and Sefu run to help Vince but he's been killed by the time they arrive. Phoebe comforts Mel, who was dating Vince. Phoebe and Sefu decide to find Vince's attackers and bring them to justice. Xia is unhappy with this - she wants the activists to go on another action to ground some American B-52s at a nearby airbase before they can bomb Iraq. Phoebe and Sefu locate one of the attackers in a barn and trap him. The attacker, who Phoebe dubs COWARDLY WINSTON, tells them that he saw Vince and the other attacker being stabbed by a third party. Sefu and Phoebe return to the house and find a sword belonging to Sefu covered in blood. The investigators establish that it is possible for Vince to have been attacked in the way Cowardly Winston described. They can only conclude one of their friends is the murderer. Phoebe and Sefu used to think that the only people could they trust were inside the house. They now know they're wrong. One of their own is a murdered. But why would one of them kill Vince? And what does that have to do with the murder of young Cassie. And who is next to die?