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On the morning of his fortieth birthday, Mike Hannah wakes from a dream about the girl he loved twenty years earlier. Once an aspiring writer, he is now a private detective whose work and marriage have become routine, and he begins to wonder what might have been. Which leads him to wondering where his ex-girlfriend is now, and whether other people’s lives are more exciting than his. Which leads him to spying on his own family, friends and neighbours. Which leads to some very unwelcome surprises…

Reviews

Elusive, strange and complex . . . an emotionally and philosophically rich existential private eye novel . . . Slowly, with great subtlety and skill, Cowan . . . explores the private battles that rage silently in every home
William Sutcliffe, Guardian
Its willed restraint and implicit solitude are wonderfully sustained . . . a masterclass in intimate understatement which proves that the brain is indeed our most erotic organ and the imagination its muse.
Scotsman
Gripping. We are mesmerised by its smoothness of plot and prose, perfectly designed to make the odd and the irregular stand out with intensity . . . Cowan has succeeded in making the ordinary incredibly engrossing - something that many try to do but few do well.
Scotland on Sunday
An acutely observed, subtle exploration of how much (or little) people really know about those they should know best . . . supremely well crafted: the descriptions are strikingly visual, the milieu wickedly credible . . . quietly moving, keenly insightful, a story with a provincial English backdrop that is also an understated meditation on the authenticity of existence.
Sunday Business Post
[Cowan] paints a patient, exact and quietly powerful portrait of lives slowly being stripped of their secrets and delusions.
The Sunday Times