Tuesday 3 September 2019

BLOG TOUR: In the Absence of Miracles - Michael J Malone

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home. Following a massive stroke, she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

In a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash.

And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence…

What did I think?

Michael J Malone has stolen my words; I was left utterly speechless after reading In the Absence of Miracles and know that this is a book I will remember (and recommend) for a long time to come.  It's difficult to put my thoughts in order to write a review that will even begin to do justice to how good this book is, but here goes.

I know from reading the magnificent A Suitable Lie that Michael J Malone knows how to shock and surprise and boy, did he make my jaw drop this time!  From the very first page, I felt completely immersed in Michael J Malone's hypnotic writing; it's somehow very calm and comforting until it punches you in the gut just when you least expect it.  A little bit how John Docherty must have felt when he discovered a photo of an older brother he has no memory of.  As John starts to unearth his buried memories he digs up a lot more skeletons than a missing brother.

There's so much going on in John's story that you literally can't put this book down.  John is such a complex character, from his relationship with Angela, that he seems intent on destroying, to his almost passive martyrdom that he is the brother saddled with visiting their mother in the nursing home.  John wants to find out what happened to his brother and his investigation discovers more teen boys going missing when the fairground is in town.  There's always something unnerving yet alluring about the fairground and I loved this aspect of the story.

Haunting, emotional, shocking and hypnotically captivating, In the Absence of Miracles is heartbreaking and moving; nobody writes domestic noir as emotively as Michael J Malone and I doubt anyone would be able to read this book devoid of emotion.  100% without doubt this is a very highly recommended read.

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

My rating:

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About the author:

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

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