Cover Stories: Peter Leonard; Alastair Campbell's new novel

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The Independent Culture

* The debut crime novel by Peter Leonard, Quiver, will be launched by Faber on 2 October and is already being touted as one of their books of the year. But why has the author waited until he is 57 to publish a book? Early criticism from his dad can't have helped: he once described his son's early characters as "like strips of leather drying in the sun" – and when your dad is Elmore Leonard, the "Dickens of Detroit", that's hard. Fortunately, early reviews of Leonard Jnr's first work are much more positive: it has "a filmic style that is reminiscent of the Coen brothers and Tarantino", says one.

* All in the Mind, the new novel by former spin doctor Alastair Campbell, has been the subject of some back-handed compliments even before its publication in November. "It comes as no surprise of course that he can spin a story," says Anne Robinson, who praises the book. Stephen Fry adds: "It probably sounds rude to say how surprised I am by the quality..." Even Campbell himself is not so kind about his previous work. "I started a novel in 1986 and it was near completion when my partner Fiona accidentally wiped it from our computer," he says, "which in hindsight is perhaps for the best."