I'm going to start this review by laying my cards straight on the table. 1) I'm not a huge fan of sports and 2) I have this (probably unreasonable) aversion to translated literature. So you'd think The Scandal, set amidst the ice-hockey fanatical Beartown, and written by Swedish author Fredrick Backman, wouldn't be high on my list of recommendations. But both you and I would be wrong.

The translation is beautifully done; honestly my reluctance has been borne out of previous experiences which left me actually giving up on books, something totally foreign (no pun intended) to me. So it is important to mention it as far as I'm concerned, particularly if you've had the same experience as me. The writing weaved me into the town and its occupants, so that I totally understood their love for their hockey team, and saw how this manifested itself into their lives and actions. 'The Scandal' when it happens, manages to shock without being surprising, and the way the town reacts unfortunately seems set in stone even before it has surfaced.

The characters themselves are as well-known to me as the people I've met throughout my life. Whilst some pleasantly surprised me, most fulfilled their inevitable roles as they would have done in any other familiar scenario. The pack (or team) mentality unfortunately is sometimes inescapable to all but the brave.

I did like they way Backman led me slowly, yet purposefully, towards the scandal, and I found myself anxiously turning those pages to find out exactly what had happened to lead to the confrontation in the forest. Mind you what did happen could, to my mind, have been any one of a number of equally horrifying events, which would I feel have had the same fall-out. There is the sense of a pressure cooker just waiting for its inevitable release.

If I'm being really picky I perhaps could have done without some elements of the ending, but that should in no way detract from what a thoroughly great read The Scandal is. Terrific.

The Scandal is published on 24th August 2017.