The Whistleblower by Robert Peston

I am not normally a fan of political thrillers, but seeing that The Whistleblower was written by one of my favourite broadcasters, the award-winning journalist Robert Peston, I thought I’d give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was considering this is not always the case when journalists decide to try their hand at fiction. Set in the run-up to the 1997 general election, he seamlessly weaves thinly disguised, real-life people into the narrative, and paints a warts-and-all portrait of what goes on behind the scenes at Westminster. If you were following the news at the time, the atmosphere of hope and desire for change will be instantly recognisable.  

The story is told from the point of view of Gil(bert) Peck, political reporter for the Financial Chronicle. He is already a deeply flawed character, but his sister’s death pushes him over the edge. His guilt is overwhelming as they had not spoken for many years. As Gil’s backstory is slowly revealed we begin to feel more empathy and understand his desperate need to find out the truth about what happened to his sister.

The Whistleblower is a fast-paced thriller that lays bare the corrupt relationship between politics and the media, and how little importance is given to the needs of the electorate. It is an intelligent and readable story, with well-drawn characters, that would be a good choice for a book group discussion. I enjoyed Gil’s self-deprecating inner voice and dry humour, and the contemporary culture references, and will definitely look out for the next novel by this author. Thanks to Zaffre and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.