I'm really gratifying by this paperback review of Crusaders in today's Times by Christina Koning: she refers to "Kelly's accomplished debut", says the book is "intensely gripping" and "particularly good on the internecine wrangles of the Labour Party." (Hope that point proves sufficiently alluring to Times readers...)
And the one or two reservations she expresses are all perfectly reasoned too. To note that Crusaders "reads, at times, like a piece of sociological analysis, rather than a work of fiction" is more than fair in relation to a novel of this length, with so many leisurely digressions from the main dramatic through-line. There seems to have been a critical consensus from the get-go that Crusaders has a good strong plot, especially for an allegedly 'literary novel' - the main issue for individual taste is whether that plot is too much swaddled within reams and reams of big-canvas socio-political realism etc. As usual, I just think these arguments are well worth having, and frankly I can see both sides.
Having named Christina Koning I should also cite the other reviewers who have done me a good turn with considerate reviews of the Crusaders paperback: James Smart in the Guardian, Sally Cousins in the Sunday Telegraph, and Nick Rennison in the Sunday Times (not online, alas).