Patrick Cottrell

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace

Helen’s adoptive brother has killed himself. According to the internet, there are six possible reasons for suicide. But Helen knows better: she knows that six reasons is only shorthand for the abyss. Helen also knows that she alone is qualified to launch a serious investigation into his death, so she purchases a one-way ticket back to her hometown, Milwaukee. There, as she attempts to uncover why someone would choose to die, she will face her estranged family, her brother’s few friends, and the overzealous grief counsellor, Chad Lambo; she may also discover what it truly means to be alive.

Sorry to Disrupt the Peace is a dark comedy about suicide — and an introduction to a singular new writer.


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EBook: £5

More Info

Print status: Available
Original language: English
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 11 May 2017
ISBN: 9781911508007
Ebook ISBN: 9781911508014
Availability: UK, Europe and Commonwealth (excl. Canada, Aus & NZ)
Number of pages: 288


Lucy Scholes
The Observer

‘Electrifying in its freshness . . . equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking.’

Irish Times Best Books of 2017

‘Compelling . . . a beautifully sad and funny debut that disturbs the peace and makes no apologies for doing so.’

The Spectator

‘Blackly comic and sophisticated . . . the memorable impact of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace . . . comes from what lurks unsaid.’

Irish Times Best Books of 2017

‘I was captivated by this book and its disturbing-in-a-good-way narrator. The writing is fearless, with lots of laugh-out-loud twisted humour.’

Publishers Weekly, starred review

‘The real attraction here is Helen: her perspective ranges from sharp . . . to askew . . . to unhinged. Cottrell gives Helen the impossible task of understanding what would drive another person to suicide, and the result is complex and mysterious, yet, in the end, deeply human and empathetic.’


‘There’s something uniquely perfect about the way that Patty Yumi Cottrell approaches humor in her first novel: by tackling [an] unbearably difficult subject via a protagonist whose voice crackles with wit and comedic brilliance, we’re given an insight that we’ve rarely seen before. And that makes for a book that’s truly impossible to put down till the very end.’

Los Angeles Review of Books

‘Sorry to Disrupt the Peace is rich with dark humor.’

The Rumpus

'Sometimes the peace needs to be disrupted, and Cottrell does so with stunning wit, humor, and yes, tender sadness.’

Tobias Carroll

‘Cottrell’s novel has a thoroughly complex and compelling narrator, questions of memory and family, and a fantastic sense of place. What makes it especially memorable is how its awareness of the structure of a detective story enables it to go to some very bleak, very powerful emotional places. It’s a moving and unsettling novel with a fantastic narrative voice at its center.’

Harper's Bazaar

‘This novel is sure to place the South Korean-born fiction writer firmly on the literary map . . . a sobering but undeniable sense of humor makes her narrative surprisingly life-affirming.’