reviews for “The Swordfish & The Star” – selected a “Book of the Year” by Financial Times and Esquire

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“A terrific new book about a hard and dangerous way of life”

Esquire, Book of the Year

“There are extraordinarily evocative stories here, of the mad bravado of scarred, de-fingered fishermen and the stoicism of their women… The Swordfish and the Star takes some beating”

Patrick Gale, The Guardian

“Knight recounts fascinating detail, but also shows a novelist’s skill in painting a vivid picture of real Cornwall and real Cornish people: Shane Meadows meets The Perfect Storm”



Literary Review

“The Swordfish and the Star gets top rating for its often searing honesty and its portrayal of fallibility in a harsh, unforgiving world… a terrific read… remarkable”

Des Hannigan, Western Morning News

“Knight does immersive journalism…fortunes made, the lives lost, the courage and recklessness”

The Oldie

“A hugely refreshing dunk in the ocean … fascinating”

Scotland on Sunday

“A genuine and powerful insight into the lives of people who brave the sea for a living”

Choice Magazine

“An immersive account… It is an eye-opening, dramatic and poignant account of life on Cornwall’s most dangerous coast and the people who fish it.”

Western Morning News

“really beautiful.. There are too few books that tell, so respectfully and truthfully, the stories of the men and women that make a living from the land and the sea”

James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd’s Life

“marvellous and humane”

Paul Theroux

“Wonderfully evocative, from the title to the last line…Full of brotherhood and triumph, loss and sadness”

Matt Lewis, author of Last Man Off

reviews for Hood Rat: shortlisted for the Orwell Prize and NWA Dagger Award.

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“The British Wire”

BBC Radio 5 Live

“an unflinching account of life and death in the sink estates of Britain. It penetrates environments that most of us only glimpse in local news reports, and addresses the kind of people that we fear encountering on a dark night.”

The Observer

“A gripping, terrifying exposure of a much-discussed – but never explained – part of Britain. A must-read for anyone who wants to understand our deeply fractured society.”

Owen Jones, author of CHAVS

“(Manchester detective Svensson) could be McNulty or Wallander .. except he’s real.”

The Sunday Times

“not only a disturbing, significant portrait of the present but a snapshot of Britain’s future”

the Literary Review

“A gripping novelistic immersion in the lives of young criminals and the ruthless world they inhabit.”

Louis Theroux

“this recent British sensation is a must. Disturbingly compelling – I couldn’t put it down.”

US Marie Claire, Editorial

“so much more chilling than most crime fiction.”

Literary Editor of The Scotsman. Read interview

“a searing and powerful story. And it’s real”

Irish Business Post Read review.

“excellent and unputdownable true-crime book”

Word magazine

“The book is a step forward for British true-crime”

3am magazine

“the most important crime story for a decade”

The Scottish Mail Read more….

“To understand the unholy chaos that rages within the hearts of urban poor youth and how they have been disenfranchised by globalisation you can do far worse than picking up Gavin Knight’s Hood Rat”

Business Standard, India

“harrowing and fascinating … a must for politicians, social workers, teachers and teens.”

Rock’s backpages writers’ blog. Read full review

“fast-paced, gripping and visceral”


“a rollicking tale”

Big Issue

“gripping new book”

Esquire magazine

Extract in The Daily Telegraph

In Hood Rat, Gavin Knight’s vivid retelling of true stories from the urban battleground, a gang member’s birthday drive ends in a shootout in a car-park. Read more ….

“his research is impressive. Hood Rat does raise some deeply troubling and interesting questions.”

Denise Mina in The Scotsman

“Hood Rat is a grim but true representation of lives lost in a square mile of gang territory, of lack of aspiration and the generational nature of gangs in Glasgow – it’s sobering reading. Gavin has been involved with the work of the violence reduction unit for many years and has been part of our journey to reduce violence and introduce innovative and brave practice in tackling gangs. Hood Rat will give you a glimpse into the lives of young men, born into poverty and drawn into a life of knives, gangs and violence. Perhaps after reading it you will appreciate the scale of the challenge.”

Karyn McCluskey, co-director, Violence Reduction Unit, Glasgow

From The Independent

In 1991, David Simon’s non-fiction book Homicide: Life on the Streets lifted the lid on the Baltimore Police homicide squad. In 2006, Roberto Saviano’s bestseller Gomorrah cast light into the murky Neapolitan underworld. Now a British author is set to do the same for our law enforcers and criminals after two years working with Britain’s top police forces.

Gavin Knight’s Hood Rat, released in July, follows police forces and crooks in Manchester, London and Glasgow. Knight spent two years embedded with the Metropolitan Police and Greater Manchester Police’s specialist task force XCalibre, as well as following heroin addicts, youth workers and charities. Film Four has bought rights to the book, which is written in a thriller style, and plans a feature-length film.

“It’s harrowing, shocking, compassionate, incredibly fast-paced and gripping,” said a spokesperson for the book’s publisher, Picador. “It brings to mind the likes of Truman Capote and Richard Price.” Read more…

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