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About the Author: Emily Barr

Emily Barr worked as a journalist in London, but always hankered after a quiet room and a book to write. She went travelling for a year, writing a column in the Guardian about it as she went, and it was there that she had an idea for a novel set in the world of backpackers in Asia. This became Backpack, which won the WH Smith New Talent Award. She has since written eleven more adult novels published in the UK and around the world, and a novella, Blackout, for the Quick Reads series. Her twelfth novel, The Sleeper, is a psychological thriller set on the London to Cornwall sleeper train.
In 2013 she went to Svalbard with the idea of setting a thriller in the Arctic. The book that came out of it was The One Memory of Flora Banks, a thriller for young adults, which attracted universal interest from publishers before being bought pre-emptively by Penguin earlier this year. It will be published globally in January 2017.
She lives in Cornwall with her partner and their children.

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A dark suspense thriller with a shocking twist by

Goodreads rating: 3.47

Paperback, Published in Feb 2001 by Headline Review

ISBN10: 074726676X | ISBN13: 9780747266761

Page count: 472

It's New Year's Day and the year isn't kicking off well for Tansy: her mother's dead, she's a cocaine addict and her boyfriend has just left her. A trip around the world seems like the only option except that she's not interested in seeing the world, just escaping from it, and the last people she wants to hang out with are backpackers.

Like a lot of travellers on the Lonely-Planet-led Asian Grand Tour, Tansy is intensely irritating at first. Always on the look out for the "real" Vietnam--the one in which she can walk around "like a model, fanning myself gently, strolling into ancient temples and learning about inner peace"--she is opinionated, narrow-minded and remarkably naive (for a supposed media luvvy). Once she has shrugged off her addiction to lines of coke, skinny lattes and Nicole Fahri jumpers, she becomes more appealing. So by the time she's fallen for Max, a fellow traveller, she'll have won you over and you'll be just as worried as she is about the serial killer who appears to be on her trail.

Emily Barr is a former Westminster researcher who now writes for the Guardian and the Observer. Backpack is her first novel and, like Tansy, takes a while to find itself. City-girl pretensions jostle with shoestring-style travelogue and it is only when it hits full-throttle thriller mode that Barr's strength as a novelist becomes apparent. Be prepared for echoes of The Beach--hardly surprising given that Barr was an extra in the film. Also be prepared to get itchy feet--if nothing else, you'll be tempted to reach for that backpack and slap on the insect repellent.--Jane Honey

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