In this powerful new thriller, Michael J Malone returns to A Suitable Lie territory, movingly and perceptively addressing a shocking social issue. Chilling, perceptive and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.
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…
John is visiting his mum in a care home, she’s had a major stroke and is no longer independent. I felt sorry for her at this point………!
Due to costs, he is going to sell her home to pay for her continuing care, so visits his old home to start clearing it ready for sale….while in the loft he finds a picture of himself with a younger child….but has no memory of it…..
When his younger brother, Chris arrives he shows him the picture and they realise, John is the younger child, so who is the older boy? And so the mystery begins….
But, John is a mess, he’s drinking too much, missing work days and his long suffering girlfriend, Angela, has had enough. He becomes a little obsessed with finding out more about the unknown boy, but what he finds out changes his life forever….
I have been lucky to read some stunning books this year, but this has to be the most heartbreaking. It tells of the horrors of child abuse, the damage this causes physically and mentally to these young victims…..it’s a tough read at times but so utterly compelling with every page so full of emotion….it left me speechless. Magnificently immersive writing that grabs your attention from start to finish. In this darkest domestic noir thriller.. A definite must read….
Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.
Buy a copy here
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.
‘Vivid, visceral and compulsive’ Ian Rankin ‘Michael J Malone is a massive talent’ Luca Veste