A brilliant book, an extraordinary mix of fiction and fact so real it will make your skin crawl. The sights, sounds, grit and desperation of postwar London hang over every step into the poisonous mysteries of the fog. Close the windows, pull up the duvet and keep the light on.
Dominick Donald is an exceptional writer. His depiction of post-war London is beautifully detailed, as are his descriptions of the lethal fogs that left the city gasping for breath. On top of that he has peopled his nail-biting story with a rich variety of characters, many of them coppers, who might easily have stepped out of a Dickens novel. Gripping to the last page, it's a mystery unlike any other I've read.
An outstanding debut . . . Donald combines historical events and fictional characters to superb effect, in a novel that deserves to win prizes.
The combination of thriller plot with pervasive moral uncertainty reminded me at times of le Carre. Historically fascinating, too. All in all, this is one of the finest debuts I've read for a while.
Remarkably accomplished . . . the most appealing, original protagonist I've read for some time . . . Donald's depiction of the city's thickening gloom is splendidly evocative . . . A very impressive debut'
Atmospheric and intriguing
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
Dominick Donald sustains the tension beautifully over the course of this long book, depicting his smoggy setting so well that your eyes sting while your pulse races.
Dominick Donald's portrayal of the difficulties and dangers faced by Londoners is superb . . . Breathe is a hugely impressive debut.
This debut will keep you absorbed for nights on end . . . Dominick Donald combines 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.
Dominick Donald's novel is a remarkably convincing re-creation of a London that, although well within living memory, has vanished forever. Rich in detail and dialogue that successfully resurrect the period, it's a thriller that holds the reader's attention
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... Donald writes his most thrilling passages in staccato lists of impressions that the narrator Martin Ellis makes rat-a-tat on the ear . . . Compulsive listening
What makes Donald's story so compelling is the combination of historical events and fictional characters to superb effect in a thriller plot with an aura of pervasive moral uncertainty . . . Breathe is an outstanding debut - one of the finest I've read in a long while.