a selection of reviews for the dynamite room

Images: The Dynamite Room launch party, by Philippa Gedge

With its unshowy, confident prose, this novel is accomplished, resonant and surprising, and poses some of the delicately handled questions about whether redemption is possible, and at what point a good heart becomes forever besmirched
— Jill Dawson, The Guardian
A strangely poetic second world war thriller... Ambitious and often gripping [with] a tense and dramatic climax - a very promising first novel
— The Observer
Well-crafted and engaging... [Hewitt] artfully explores family and identity, and how war changes the lives of both soldiers and civilians
— Publishers Weekly
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‘superb. absorbing, suspenseful and with a beautifully poetic touch’

Nathan Filer, author of The Shock of the Fall

An emotionally charged character study in which [Hewitt] explores the loneliness, fear, hope, and shame that war visits on ordinary people. Mystery and general-fiction book groups will enjoy dissecting these characters and their nuanced story
— Booklist
Explores what can happen to a good person swept up in a bad cause, and how the maelstrom of war sears its youngest victims. The themes of the novel run closely to those of another recent work, All the Light we Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. In the hands of writers less skilled than Hewitt and Doerr, these novels might have been horror stories of rape and murder. Hewitt, however, poses some profound questions
— Washington Independent Review of Books
A claustrophobic psychological thriller, as powerfully visualised as a screenplay... An unusual, intricate drama delivered with accomplishment
— Kirkus Reviews
A claustrophobic and formidable first novel that builds to a devastating climax
— Andre Paine, Metro
This gripping first novel is a book for the ages, so engaging and well written, I did not want it to end. Very highly recommended
— Historical Novels Review
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'This World War II mystery is oozing with period character and dark nostalgia'


Deeply thought provoking... Hewitt superbly conveys the contrasting elements of tension and friendship in the relationship between captor and captive – between a vulnerable child and an adult in a position of power. Claustrophobic, tense and thoughtful
— The Lady
Suspenseful and powerful. A novel of great humanity that exposes the absurd contradictions of war
— Samantha Harvey, author of The Wilderness and The Western Wind
A debut of startling originality and quality portraying a side to the Second World War that is usually left unspoken
— Goldsboro Books (Book of the Month)
A gripping read, which delves into the impact of chance meetings, unexpected relationships and one man’s war with himself
— The Bookish Reader
Intensely cinematic... An exciting, fresh and moving novel, brought to life by Hewitt’s strong characterisation
— Books and Things
A compelling debut novel that immerses the reader in the desolation of war... Intricately crafted and beautifully told, The Dynamite Room is both heart-breaking and redemptive
— Culture Street
Intelligent, unusual and utterly captivating... One of those rare gems that leaves you heartbroken by ending but desperate to turn back to the first page and start all over again
— The Tattooed Book
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‘Compelling and descriptive’

We Love This Book

The prose style of the book, which I found very reminiscent of the Irish literary style ( a la Toibin, Trevor etc), the depth of research, and beautifully drawn characters, were completely satisfying. Excellent.
— Raven Crime Reads
Grabs you from the outset and refuses to let you go. A compelling, powerful and humane book
— Judith Allnatt, author of The Moon Field
Clever and unsettling, this most unconventional of war stories had me totally gripped
— Shelley Harris, author of Jubilee
An effective psychological drama between two extraordinary characters... Readers who loved The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas will have a strong affinity with The Dynamite Room
— Katie Ward, author of Girl Reading
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atmospheric, tense and most engaging

Lovereading (Editor’s choice)

For a reader who wants to lose themselves in a brilliant, eerie drama, Hewitt delivers exactly what the reader is looking for. An explosive and enticing novel. Definitely worth a read
— While He Writes
A thoroughly absorbing read and shows incredible insight on the part of the writer. An excellent first novel
— Bookbabblers
Stunning... I was gripped throughout and the final scenes had my heart pounding
— Much Ado About Books