Friday 8 May 2020

BLOG TOUR: Death of a Painter (Mark Poynter #1) - Matthew Ross


When Mark Poynter discovers a murder on his worksite all of his financial problems suddenly seem a lot closer to home: was this a warning his debts are overdue?

Suspected of being the killer and worried at being the intended victim, the murder only makes Mark’s money problems worse, leading him to turn to the local villain, Hamlet, who has his own unique repayment plan in mind for Mark.

When two more deaths plunge him even further into debt, Mark finds himself faced with a choice – help the police and clear his name or help the villain and clear his debt.

Set in the Medway Towns on the grey margins of criminality, where no job’s too big, no dodge’s too small …

Death Of A Painter is the first in a new series of darkly comic crime fiction novels featuring the beleaguered builder Mark Poynter, aided and hindered in equal measure by his trusted crew of slackers, idlers and gossips, and the lengths they go to just to earn a living.

What did I think?

I don't think I have ever read a book that is set in the building trade and with this very unusual setting, Matthew Ross has written a cracking debut novel.  Death of a Painter is full of colourful characters and hilarious banter that meant my interest was held in a vice-like grip throughout.  The story is actually quite like a game of Cluedo and we must find out who killed the painter in the kitchen with the hammer.

Mark Poyner is the brilliant main character; always busy with jobs but struggling to make ends meet as he constantly robs Peter to pay Paul.  His money troubles continue when one of his team is murdered on the job, therefore delaying payment for the work and landing him in a whole heap of trouble with his creditors.  There are so many people after his blood that Mark even wonders if there has been a case of mistaken identity and he may have been the intended victim.  When Mark becomes the prime suspect in the murder he starts his own investigation to try to clear his name but unearths a lot more than he bargained for.

Being very character driven, Death of a Painter would make a fantastic sitcom as there are some fantastic characters and I can totally see Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer in starring roles.  We have only just scratched the surface of Mark in this first book and I can already see that there is a lot more of him to discover.  I loved the nicknames that people had and there are characters named Disco, Hamlet and even The Two Ronnies.  Although not always laugh out loud funny, the humour is quite dark and subtle so I'll probably spot a lot more when I read the book again.

Death of a Painter is a cracking debut from Matthew Ross; it's pacey, intriguing and hugely entertaining.  I'm a little torn with the rating as it's not quite a 5 star read but it's worth more than 4 stars so I'm giving it an extra half a star to make it a sparkly 4.5.  I'm going to add it to my read again list so that's definitely a recommendation from me!  

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon or Red Dog Press

About the author:

Matthew Ross was born and raised in the Medway Towns, England. He still lives in Kent with his Kiwi wife, his children and a very old cat.

He was immersed in the building industry from a very early age helping out on his father’s sites during school holidays before launching into his own career at 17. He’s worked on projects ranging from the smallest domestic repair to £billion+ infrastructure, and probably everything in between.

A lifelong comedy nerd, he ticked off a bucket-list ambition and tried his hand at stand-up comedy. Whilst being an experience probably best forgotten (for both him and audiences alike) it ignited a love for writing, leading to various commissions including for material broadcast on BBC Radio 4 comedy shows.

Matthew moved into the longer format of novel writing after graduating from the Faber Academy in London in 2017.

Death Of A Painter’ is his first novel and the first in a planned series of stories featuring Mark Poynter and his associates.

Matthew enjoys reading all manner of books - especially crime and mystery; 80s music; and travelling and can’t wait for the next trip to New Zealand to spend time with family and friends.  

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