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A Personal History of Thirst

Available on Amazon


John Burdett

A menage a  trois that unites an ambitious London lawyer, a sexually inventive American woman, and a thief named Thirst culminates in a perverse obsession that ends with a courtroom confrontation. A first novel.

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William Morrow & Co

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Reviews (1)

1 review for A Personal History of Thirst

  1. Ross Browne


    “James Knight, successful London barrister, is visited by two policemen investigating the murder of Oliver Thirst, a convicted criminal whom Knight once defended and later befriended. Daisy, Knight’s ex-lover and Thirst’s wife, is accused of the crime. What follows is Knight’s narration of the connection between these three. Knight first meets Daisy, an American, when both are in school. His working-class origins are one of the things that attract Daisy, but Knight is determined to climb the social ladder and, as he puts it, “amputate his past.” As he is starting to establish himself in his career, he is asked to handle an appeal for Thirst, a thief with whom he has a slight acquaintance, so that Thirst can be paroled from prison and make a new start. The theme of starting anew, making oneself over, changing identities, is central to the book. The appeal is successful, and from that point on the lives of Knight, Thirst, and Daisy are fatally intertwined. The characterizations are not quite strong enough to make this first novel a complete success. The reader never quite buys Daisy’s alleged charm and Thirst’s charisma. Still, the author does a skillful job of managing his theme of shifting identities, all the way to the surprising but inevitable conclusion.”


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