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Breathe Reviews

Breathe by Dominick Donald

Breathe: a killer lurks in the worst fog London has ever known

Dominick Donald

4.09 out of 5

6 reviews

Imprint: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Publication date: 6 Sep 2018
ISBN: 9781444775532

A stunning debut crime novel for fans of Robert Harris, Philip Kerr and C.J. Sansom's Dominion.

4 stars out of 5
Alexander Larman
13 Aug 2019

"[a] grim, brilliant book"

Dominick Donald’s debut novel is set in a miserable 1952 London, where the streets have been reduced to rubble by bombs, literal and metaphorical fog has overtaken everything and PC Dick Bourton finds himself investigating a particularly unpleasant series of murders. It takes undeniable courage to introduce John “Reg” Christie, one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers, into the mix of a crime procedural, but Donald’s grim, brilliant book justifies his presence by sustaining the ghastly plot reversals and suffocating tension until the climax.


4 stars out of 5
13 Oct 2018

"Breathe ingeniously knits together the killer London smog of the winter of 1952 and the discovery of multiple corpses in Rillington Place"

Breathe ingeniously knits together the killer London smog of the winter of 1952 and the discovery of multiple corpses in Rillington Place in 1953. Dominick Donald creates a splendidly honest, but wily and perceptive hero in the burly Korean War veteran Dick Bourton, and a resourceful heroine to match him in his voluptuous half- Russian, half-Chinese fiancée, Anna...Donald writes his most thrilling passages in staccato lists of impressions that the narrator Martyn Ellis makes rat-a-tat on the ear like hammer blows

4 stars out of 5
7 Oct 2018

" this debut will keep you absorbed for nights on end"

Dominick Donald combines a tangy depiction of ration-era London with a strong historical context featuring, among many vividly realised scenes, a chase through the Underground that will haunt your commute for weeks.

4 stars out of 5
Geoffrey Wansell
13 Sep 2018

"(a) subtly woven mixture of fiction and fact"

This subtly woven mixture of fiction and fact, which partly draws on the notorious case of 10 Rillington Place and the serial killer Reg Christie, casts a magical spell, and even includes a moving love story. It is a stunning debut from a former academic, security expert and journalist. You can smell the fog and feel the breath being sucked out of your body as you struggle to understand what is happening in the darkness.

4 stars out of 5
Joan Smith
26 Aug 2018

"an outstanding debut by Dominick Donald"

 an outstanding debut by Dominick Donald...Donald combines historical events and fictional characters to superb effect, in a novel that deserves to win prizes. 

5 stars out of 5
Mark Sanderson
9 Aug 2018

"The best debut of the year "

The best debut of the year was surely Dominick Donald’s deeply impressive Breathe (Hodder, £17.99) in which a police probationer gropes his way through the great smogs of Fifties London on the trail of a multiple killer.