Tuesday 23 July 2019

BLOG TOUR: Life Ruins - Danuta Kot

In a small northern town, girls are disappearing.

You won’t see it in the papers and the police aren’t taking any notice, but the clues are there if you know where to look.

Becca sees that something is wrong, but she’s been labelled ‘difficult’ thanks to her troubled past. So when a girl is so savagely beaten she can’t be identified, and Becca claims she knows who she is, no one will believe her.

With the police refusing to listen, Becca digs for evidence that will prove what she is saying. But her search for justice will put herself and those closest to her in danger – and once she finds the truth, will anyone even listen?

What did I think?

I love the cover of this book; it's so bleak and menacing and perfectly portrays the theme of Life Ruins.  I was completely mesmerised by Danuta Kot's poetic writing from the very first page where she brought the dramatic and dangerous East Yorkshire coastline to life and from that point on, I simply couldn't put this book down.

There are three very intriguing main characters in Life Ruins, that all have interesting back stories.  Kay is a recently widowed foster carer adjusting to life on her own, Becca is her tempestuous foster daughter taking her first few steps into independence and Jared is a troubled young man recovering from an accident.  How their stories intertwine is simply sublime and I read in open eyed awe as the story unfolded, with my heart pounding and my palms sweating as I approached the breathtaking conclusion at breakneck speed.

The story is set in Bridlington, a seaside town on the East Yorkshire coast.  Gone are the days when families would flock to the seaside towns of the UK for their summer holidays and a lot of towns have become run-down because of this.  With no money coming in from tourists, shops close down and the vulnerable people move in.  There is a line in Life Ruins about this that took my breath away and made all the hairs stand up on the back of my neck:  "If you populate an area with prey, the predators will not be far behind."

I found Danuta Kot's writing to be very visual in quite a unique way; not only did she perfectly set out the scene's appearance but she also manages to portray the feelings of the characters.  Not only the characters' emotions, but I sometimes felt as if the landscape itself had hidden emotions that only Danuta Kot could reveal through her vivid imagery.

I think it is a little misleading to say that Life Ruins is a debut novel as Danuta Kot has written books under the names of Danuta Reah and Carla Banks.  I'm pleased it mentioned this in the 'About the author' note below as I'll definitely be adding some of her previous books to my reading queue based on the outstanding quality of Life Ruins.

Tense and gripping, Life Ruins is a powerful, thought-provoking read that perfectly encapsulates the despair and desolation of a run-down town as the predators move in for their prey.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Danuta Kot grew up with stories. Her Irish mother and her Polish father kept their own cultures alive with traditional tales they shared with their children. For many years, she worked with young people in Yorkshire who were growing up in the aftermath of sudden industrial decline. She uses this background in her books to explore some of the issues that confront modern, urban society: poverty, alienation and social breakdown, using the contexts of the modern crime novel. She has previously written under the names, Danuta Reah and Carla Banks. Danuta was also a former chair of the Crime Writers’ Association. She now works as a senior education consultant, work that involves travel to establish education and training in other parts of the world. She is a regular academic speaker at conferences and literary festivals, and has appeared on radio and television. 

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  1. Huge thanks for the blog tour support Michelle x

  2. Thank you for the wonderful review. I'm so glad you enjoyed the book.