The Times Best Books for Summer 2020
THERE ARE TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY.
AND THEN THERE’S THE TRUTH.
Gabriela, a senior negotiator in the FCO’s counter-terrorism unit, runs a small and powerful team based in Whitehall. She is tenacious, hard-working and the family breadwinner. Her partner Tom – a freelance architect – looks after their two small children. When Gabriela returns from a seven-month stint in Moscow, something doesn’t seem right.
Isobel is a journalist working for the local paper in Camden. Walking home from a party one night, she witnesses a horrific attack. But someone has seen her, and is making themselves known in increasingly frightening ways. As Isobel starts to investigate, she uncovers a dark network of human trafficking and exploitation.
While Gabriela’s life begins to unravel, Isobel gets closer to the story. With one desperate to uncover the truth, and the other determined to hide it, the two women’s lives converge.
Compulsive and compelling A Double Life is a beautifully written and deeply chilling examination of deceit.
About the author
Now a freelance journalist, Charlotte Philby worked for the Independent for eight years as a columnist, editor and reporter, and was shortlisted for the Cudlipp Prize for her investigative journalism at the 2013 Press Awards. A former contributing editor and feature writer at Marie Claire, she is founder of the online platform Motherland.net, and has contributed to all the major newspapers, as well as the BBC, Channel 4 and numerous magazines and books. Charlotte is the granddaughter of Kim Philby, Britain’s most famous communist double-agent, the elusive ‘third man’ in the notorious Cambridge spy ring. She has three children and lives in London.
- “Superbly crafted with heart-stopping twists and chills galore. A new star has arrived in the thriller firmament” The Times, Book of the Month
- “A seriously stylish, hugely compelling mystery: Charlotte Philby redefines a male-dominated genre with her brilliantly complex female characters. I was utterly gripped.” LUCY FOLEY
- “I fell into the vivid, frightening world Charlotte Philby creates so skilfully and didn’t resurface until long after I’d turned the last page. Her characters are so real you genuinely fret over their safety in their jobs and personal lives. Everything about this book feels as plausible as if it might happen tomorrow. She is a hugely original and talented writer.” JANE CASEY
- “A Double Life confirms Charlotte Philby as the master of a sub-genre she basically invented, dealing in the dangerous area where working motherhood and international espionage collide. Heart-breaking, gripping and always beautifully written, I can’t wait to see what she does next.” ERIN KELLY
- “Philby is creating her own niche of beautifully observed, fast-paced, multi-layered novels… In Gabriela and Isobel, Philby develops two fascinating characters who have to face challenges that women the world over will recognise, but rarely get to read about on the page. A Double Life is a wonderful novel.” HOLLY WATT, winner of the 2019 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger.
- ‘Brilliantly executed and tense’ Sunday Times
- ‘Terribly compelling… persuasive and absorbing.’ The Observer
- ‘A pacy, gripping read that kept us on the edge of our seats’ The Independent
- ‘Dark and compelling’ Bella
- ‘I like a novel where the intrepid investigative journalist and the Foreign Office rising star are both women. And where two separate stories eventually converge around a conspiracy that touches the very top of the establishment and destroys everything’ Evening Standard