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…
PUBLICATION DATE: 19 SEPTEMBER 2019
Published By: ORENDA BOOKS
Format: PAPERBACK ORIGINAL
This book threw me through a few loops, in all the best ways. Sometimes with thrillers I always try and guess what’s going on, or sometimes I become disinterested if they put too many twists. But Malone does a perfect balance of unexpected twists and reveals against the logical conclusions you expect and perhaps sometimes need in a book to further the suspension of disbelief.
John is a rather heartbreaking character, you can tell he wants to be better, that he’s struggled his whole life trying to be a guy he’s not ashamed of but there’s still something haunting him. The problem is that not even John knows what’s haunting him.
His mother has suffered a horrible stroke, his father had passed away a few years before that, and though he has a brother, Chris, he’s left to deal with selling the family house to pay for their Mother’s care.
But, John makes a chilling discovery while trying to clear out the house and it’s leading him down a path where the truth may cause more damage than the lies he’s accepted. However, he feels a powerful urge to find out more about the secret older brother he had. Is it just the familial connection that drives John, or is he hoping the truth will set him free?
This is a dark and powerful story and one that I enjoyed reading from start to finish.
You watch John in his self-destructive behaviour, you find out more about his family, and everything just weaves into a tragic form of truth.
Really, such a great story, and one that focuses on an important message, the predators aren’t always the ones that we assume, and money often speaks louder than words to a lot of people who do things that seem monstrous.
Definitely, a four cups of coffee read for me, I actually plan to reread this one soon, it was too good not to, and if you enjoy thrillers then I highly recommend this.
Thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda books for a copy of this to read and review honestly as part of the tour.
Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence, Drugs and Alcohol Abuse, and Child Abuse. This includes abuse of a sexual nature.
*Apologies on a late post, suffering my third day in a row of migraines!*
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.
About the Publisher
Orenda Books is a small independent publishing company specialising in literary fiction with a heavy emphasis on crime/thrillers, and approximately half the list in translation. They’ve been twice shortlisted for the Nick Robinson Best Newcomer Award at the IPG awards, and publisher and owner Karen Sullivan was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. In 2018, they were awarded a prestigious Creative Europe grant for their translated books programme. Three authors, including Agnes Ravatn, Matt Wesolowski and Amanda Jennings have been WHSmith Fresh Talent picks, and Ravatn’s The Bird Tribunal was shortlisted for the Dublin Literary Award, won an English PEN Translation Award, and adapted for BBC Radio Four’s Book at Bedtime. Six titles have been short- or long-listed for the CWA Daggers. Launched in 2014 with a mission to bring more international literature to the UK market, Orenda Books publishes a host of debuts, many of which have gone on to sell millions worldwide, and looks for fresh, exciting new voices that push the genre in new directions. Bestselling authors include Ragnar Jonasson, Antti Tuomainen, Gunnar Staalesen, Michael J. Malone, Kjell Ola Dahl, Louise Beech, Johana Gustawsson, Lilja Sigurðardóttir and Sarah Stovell.
The Rest of the Tour