An aspiring TV journalist faces a shattering moral dilemma and the prospect of losing her career and her life, when she joins an impetuous photographer in the Middle East. A shocking, searingly authentic thriller by award-winning ex-CNN news executive Sarah Sultoon.
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.
Sarah Sultoon brings all her experience as a CNN news executive to bear on this shocking, searingly authentic thriller, which asks immense questions about the world we live in. You’ll never look at a news report in the same way again…
Samira (Sami) has issues with her dad – he was a photographer in war zones and died on the job. Her mum hasn’t been the same since, and she and Sami are no longer close. Sami wants to prove herself to her mum and to make sense of her dad’s death, so when the chance comes to accompany one of the team’s most experienced photographers she cannot quell her excitement. This is her chance to break away from the night shift of graphic design for the international news organisation in London and see for herself the true horrors of war. Sami’s need to prove herself, and her family connection form her personal motivation, yet it is her ability to speak Arabic that marks her out to her bosses as a valuable asset – and, besides, it’s just a quick in-and-out visit to capture the visit of US dignitaries to the region. However, Sami has something more to offer, a human touch and the ability to seek out a story on behalf of those without a voice, those who are suffering as the pawns of war. Sami wants to tell it as it is and speak up for those people.
Kris, the photographer, is more than intriguing. His home life is in tatters as he chooses to work rather than spend time with his wife and kids; only the dog seems to be pleased to see him when he does venture home. On the job, he can be blunt and brash, but he has an eye for detail and can zoom in to capture the poignancy of a situation like no other.
As you’d expect, any story set in such an environment is going to portray the devastation of war, and its brutal repercussions on the civilians caught in its wake. Consequently, readers can expect an emotional roller coaster and some exceptionally stark reactions. The ending is shocking and you’re left to determine for yourself whether some deaths were mercy killings or something more sinister. (You’ll have to read for yourself to find out what I mean).
The Shot is a story that will stay with me, it gives fascinating insight into war reporting, the horrors and the impact on those reporting the news and is all the more impactful given the situation in Ukraine. As viewers, we see journalists giving their reports against the backdrop of sirens and burning buildings, we see civilians fleeing – if they can – and others injured or killed. Sami’s story obliges us to see the human effect, to uphold humanitarian values and see the people behind the headlines. A powerful read indeed.
About Sarah Sultoon
Sarah Sultoon is a novelist and journalist, whose prior 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 degree in languages, chosen mainly so she could spend time itinerantly travelling the world. She likes running, Indian food, cocktails, playing sport with her children and throwing a ball for her dog, order dependent on when the cocktails are consumed. The Source is her first novel and is currently in development for television with Lime Pictures.
‘A brave and thought-provoking debut novel. Sarah Sultoon tackles a challenging and disturbing subject without sensation, and her sensitive handling, tight plotting and authentic storytelling make for a compelling read’ Adam Hamdy
‘Delving into corruption, abuse of power and the resilience of the human spirit, The Source is a taut and thought-provoking book that’s all the more unnerving for how much it echoes the headlines in real life’ CultureFly
‘Carly and Marie’s stories are about to collide, the secrets of the past are devastating, the investigation in the present urgent. This is a tense thriller, a remarkable debut, heartbreaking, but ultimately this is a story of resilience and survival’ New Books Magazine
‘A powerful, compelling read that doesn’t shy away from some upsetting truths … written with such energy’ Fanny Blake
‘Tautly written and compelling, not afraid to shine a spotlight on the darker forces at work in society’ Rupert Wallis
‘So authentic and exhilarating … breathtaking pace and relentless ingenuity’ Nick Paton Walsh, CNN
‘A powerful, intense whammy of a debut that is both uncomfortable and exhilarating to read … Thought-provoking, tense, and expressive, The Source is an utterly compelling debut’ LoveReading
‘A gripping, dark thriller’ Geoff Hill, ITV
‘A cleverly constructed story that offers an authentic view behind the scenes in a British newsroom … an original and wholly engaging debut. Definitely a name to watch’ Crime Fiction Lover
‘My heart was racing … fiction to thrill even the most hard-core adrenaline junkies’ Diana Magnay, Sky News
‘Unflinching and sharply observed. A hard-hitting, deftly woven debut’ Ruth Field
‘With this gripping, fast-paced debut thriller, it’s easy to see what made Sultoon such a great journalist’ Clarissa Ward, CNN
‘A hard-hitting, myth-busting rollercoaster of a debut’ Eve Smith
‘I could picture and feel each scene, all the fear, tension and hope’ Katie Allen