Eva Dolan’s newest psychological thriller, This Is How It Ends, has all the hallmarks of her previous crime novels: complex characters find themselves in a realistic and an often awful situation.

This stand-alone takes full advantage of those talents as Dolan tells the story of a washed-out policewoman-turned-political activist, whose horrific beating at the hands of a police officer at a rally have made Ella Riordan famous.

Her crusade this time centers around an old building waiting to be demolished. Castle Rise is waiting destruction and despite death threats, Ella and several fellow activists defend the building’s place in the community. She’s become close to photographer, Molly, and the chapters alternate in their voices.

Then a dead body is found in the building, and things rapidly spiral out of hand. Who can be trusted? Who is telling the truth? And who is the man who has a hold over Ella that’s inexplicable?

The fast-pacing and mixed time periods add to the tension and the sense that things are out of control. Careful reading at the surprising end will show Dolan’s played fair and all of the clues are there, if you know how to recognize them.

Creative and with a whopper of an ending you won’t soon forget.

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