Blog Tour: Dirt, Sarah Sultoon

Book Review: Dirt, Sarah Sultoon

Dirt, Sarah Sultoon

Mystery/Thriller: Dirt, Sarah Sultoon

Blog Tour January 18, 2023


I did not see the end coming. I thought I did. It was all making sense to me. But hidden in the Dirt were secrets waiting to be revealed, mysteries that stayed buried, connections found only through the rock and soil.


Jonny is a cub reporter for a Jerusalem newspaper. Raised in England by his single mother, then after her death by a foster family, he has come to Israel to discover more about himself and his mother’s home country.


Lola is a British volunteer for a kibbutz. Not Jewish herself, she is one of a number of young adults who spend time volunteering at kibbutzim trying to find themselves. Volunteers come from all over the world, some because they believe in the lifestyle practiced, some to get in touch with their faith, some to escape their past, some for reasons of their own.


When Jonny hears about a death in the kibbutz during a rocket attack on Israel, he begs his editor to pursue the story. She is not keen; a man’s death in a far away kibbutz is hardly the stuff for an urban newspaper. Jonny convinces her that there is more to the story, though, and she reluctantly gives him a day to look into things.


Jonny has his own reasons to visit the kibbutz, reasons that are revealed in the course of the book. But the facts are that he is an outsider, not even Israeli, there to ask unpleasant questions and reveal dark secrets. And whether the outsider is a volunteer like Lola or a journalist like Jonny, those secrets do not want to be revealed. Dirt is silent.


I have read and reviewed a couple of other books by Sarah Sultoon, and I am a huge fan. Her writing and detail betrays her journalistic roots. It is crisp and pointed, a style that is engaging and readable and feels like it is being told by an expert on the story. What separates the great journalists from the ordinary is the ability to tell a story, to create a narrative connecting disparate facts. That ability carries well into fiction writing as well. Sultoon pulls various threads together brilliantly, tying her characters, her story, her setting, and their secrets so tightly together that when the end comes it is surprising and unexpected and yet, somehow, perfectly satisfying.


Although I have long desired to visit Israel, that remains a hopeful dream for “someday.” Through Sultoon’s vivid description, though, I have felt the sun on my face. I have felt the spray and tasted the salt of the sea. I have smelled the smoke and vodka on the breath of the people. I have shivered from the tensions between people caught in generational warfare over the same slivers of land. I have mourned the loss of too many people killed in too many battles for reasons that feed their own self-fulfilling prophecies. I have touched the dirt that has been watered with blood for more than a thousand years.


Our thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things for our copy of Dirt, provided so we could review it for this blog tour. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives on this book, check out the other bloggers participating.


Dirt, Sarah Sultoon

Book Review: Dirt, Sarah Sultoon


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