Sarah Sultoon: Dirt

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for Dirt. My review is written with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour and to Orenda Books for my copy of the book.


This is no utopia…

1996. Northern Israel. Lola leaves an unhappy home life in England for the fabled utopian life of a kibbutz, but this heavily guarded farming community on the Arab-Israeli border isn’t the idyll it seems, and tensions are festering.

Hundreds of miles away, in the Jerusalem offices of the International Tribune newspaper, all eyes are on Israel’s response to a spate of rocket attacks from Lebanon, until cub reporter Jonny Murphy gets a tip from a mysterious source that sends him straight into the danger zone.

When the body of an Arab worker is discovered in the dirt of the kibbutz chicken house, it triggers a series of events that puts Lola and the whole community in jeopardy, and Jonny begins to uncover a series of secrets that put everything at risk, as he begins to realise just how far some people will go to belong…


Having read and enjoyed the author’s previous books, I was looking forward to reading Dirt. As always, Sarah Sultoon takes us to the location, in this case, Israel, effortlessly, and her writing really brings the setting and story to life. I was fascinated by the way of life in the kibbutz and was really intrigued to learn more about the characters who inhabited it.

The central characters are Lola and Jonny. The focus of each chapter alternates between them until the story gradually brings them together. I was interested to see how this would happen. The characters themselves were easy to relate to. They had clearly arrived at the kibbutz with some baggage and I loved finding out more about them as the story developed. 

The plot of Dirt is compelling right from the prologue, although the dead body that we start with is by no means the full story. The author asks the reader to consider many complex issues throughout the novel, and by raising the themes of religion and politics, she really brings out the big ones. It is so carefully put together and this makes the ending particularly tense as all the clues begin to come together. There are a few twists and turns that really kept me on edge. 

Dirt is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:


2 thoughts on “Sarah Sultoon: Dirt

  1. This is the second review of this book I’ve read. Even though it is set in Israel (and sounds pretty well researched), I don’t think I’ll be picking it up. Also… I get that Lola is from the UK, but Johnny Murphy? Is he also not an Israeli? Because Murphy is not a Jewish sounding name.


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