Source: Review copy
Publication: e-book out now. P/back 28 April 2022
Samira is an up-and-coming TV journalist, working the nightshift at a major news channel and yearning for greater things. So when she’s offered a trip to the Middle East, with Kris, the station’s brilliant but impetuous star photographer, she leaps at the chance
In the field together, Sami and Kris feel invincible, shining a light into the darkest of corners … except the newsroom, and the rest of the world, doesn’t seem to care as much as they do. Until Kris takes the photograph.
With a single image of young Sudanese mother, injured in a raid on her camp, Sami and the genocide in Darfur are catapulted into the limelight. But everything is not as it seems, and the shots taken by Kris reveal something deeper and much darker … something that puts not only their careers but their lives in mortal danger.
I absolutely loved this book. The Shot is an extraordinary, stunning story told brilliantly well. It offers a realistic and shocking insight into the incredible impact on journalists of working in war zones . It’s a masterclass in storytelling and cinematic in scope. It is a must read. You can find my review here.
Today, as part of the blog tour, I am bringing you a flavour of The Shot, so that you can have a taster for what you’ll be getting when you buy it. I hope you enjoy; it is a remarkable book.
There was always sand in the air in Baghdad. It made it easy to pretend nothing ever bothered you except the weather. There had been a gusty great haboob the day before. So he hadn’t even needed to pretend as Katja raged – there was nothing she hadn’t seen, there was nowhere she hadn’t been, and never had she had it as hard as this. There was no real journalism to be done in this Second Gulf War. Actually, wait, there was plenty to be done, but none that they were going to get away with, thanks to the military and its preposterous miles of red tape, locking every square inch of the battlefield into a single viewpoint – theirs. He’d been able to rub his eyes all he liked, watching smoke wreathing around her head, ash dropping all over the place from the cigarette in her hand that she was too busy using to point her nicotine-stained finger of blame rather than actually inhale. Kris should have taken more responsibility for himself. Did he honestly need her to keep telling him the stakes were higher than they’d ever been? This was Baghdad at the peak of the conflict, the crest of the West’s magnanimous takeover in the Middle East! They were in constant competition with every other news network on the ground in Iraq for the mealiest amount of access. There was no excuse good enough for not being in the right place at the right time. Was someone with a reputation like hers going to let the network fall behind on the next stage of this war because of a dated piece of paperwork? As if she could ever use something as trivial as an incorrect ID badge in her defence. He should have known the expiry date on his press pass as well as he knew his own fucking birthday.
There she had paused, just for a moment, mosaic of lines round her black eyes softening as she reassured him – she thought she knew he was as frustrated as she was. As if changing tack was going to help him open his mouth with all that sand still in the air, gluing his throat fast shut.
For they both knew this war was stage-managed like none other. They both knew that moving around this tortured city, once the pearl of the Middle East, now patchworked with roadblocks, was down to the military and its piles of admin. Making it the wrong side of dangerous for journalists to operate without military cover was both deliberate and deniable. Hell, they were even calling it embedding, as if appropriating a verb that suggested reporters and soldiers were actually getting into bed with each other would make any result the unvarnished, objective truth. Forget about how they’d got the job done in a gazillion other warzones. These were the new rules of engagement. 9/11 had changed everything. They’d been around the block together for years, hadn’t they? Kris and Katja, the king and the queen, only together will the network reign supreme?
There you are. A short, atmospheric extract to set the stage for the drama that is to come. The Shot is both gripping and compelling and Sarah Sultoon is a fabulous story teller. Enjoy!
Sarah Sultoon is a journalist and writer, whose work as an international news executive at CNN has taken her all over the world, from the seats of power in both Westminster and Washington to the frontlines of Iraq and Afghanistan. She has extensive experience in conflict zones, winning three Peabody awards for her work on the war in Syria, an Emmy for her contribution to the coverage of Europe’s migrant crisis in 2015, and a number of Royal Television Society gongs. As passionate about fiction as nonfiction, she recently completed a Masters of Studies in Creative Writing at the University of Cambridge, adding to an undergraduate language degree in French and Spanish, and Masters of Philosophy in History, Film and Television. When not reading or writing she can usually be found somewhere outside, either running, swimming or throwing a ball for her three children and dog while she imagines what might happen if… Sarah lives in London with her family