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Leo Benedictus takes the seemingly harmless pastime of people-watching to a new level in Consent. The beguiling first-person narrative begins with a tone of innocence, the mere musings of an interested observer speculating about the lives of the “subjects” that pique his curiosity.

Armed with the means to allow his part-time hobby to become a full-time obsession, the narrator descends into a world of deceit, jealousy and betrayal.

In his second novel, Benedictus demonstrates a true craftsman’s skill in unveiling the psyche of a stalker. There is the twisted logic, the self-justification, and the misplaced sense of loyalty that he uses to excuse his intrusions into the lives of oblivious targets.

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