The Viney Agency


David Ambrose

Melanie Finn’s first novel, Away From You, was published to critical acclaim in the UK (Penguin) and USA (St Martin’s Press) in 2004. 

It was described by Helen Dunmore as ‘a deeply affecting book with its own atmosphere of strong light and brilliant detail’ and by Esther Freud as ‘a delicately crafted and powerfully evocative novel.’ 

Away From You
was long listed for the Orange and IMPAC Prizes.

Born and raised in Kenya, Melanie now lives in Vermont with her husband and twin daughters but East Africa stubbornly remains part of her life.  She set up and runs a small health project in a remote Masai community of Northern Tanzania.  

Melanie Finn’s second novel was published to huge critical acclaim in the UK as Shame, in the USA by Two Dollar Radio as The Gloaming, and in France as S’Enfuir


Her third novel, The Underneath, is published by Head of Zeus in the UK and Two Dollar Radio in the USA.



A musk of sex and menace soaks three narrative strands, expertly braided. This taut, harrowing novel...puts readers on the knife’s edge.” Kirkus

“tense and atmospheric...dark and gripping” Publishers Weekly

The Underneath follows Kay Ward, a former journalist struggling with the constraints of motherhood. Along with her husband and two children, she rents a quaint Vermont farmhouse for the summer. The idea is to disconnect from their work-based lifestyle—that had her doggedly pursuing a genocidal leader of child soldiers known as General Christmas, even through Kay's pregnancy and the birth of their second child—in an effort to repair their shaky marriage.

It isn't long before Kay's husband is called away and she discovers a mysterious crawlspace in the rental with unsettling writing etched into the wall. Alongside some of the house's other curiosities and local sleuthing, Kay is led to believe that something terrible may have happened to the home's owners.

Kay's investigation leads her to a local logger, Ben Comeau, a man beset with his own complicated and violent past. A product of the foster system and life-long resident of the Northeast Kingdom, Ben struggles to overcome his situation, and to help an abused child whose addict mother is too incapacitated to care about the boy's plight.

The Underneath is an intelligent and considerate exploration of violence—both personal and social—and whether violence may ever be justified. 

BIBLIOGRAPHY: The Underneath, Two Dollar Radio (USA), Head of Zeus (UK) 2018; Shame, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 2015: published in USA under the title The Gloaming by Two Dollar Radio and in France by Les Escales, 2016; Away From You, Penguin, 2004,  and published in the USA by St Martin's Press.