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…
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.
My thoughts: this book goes to some dark places, twisted and cruel people emerge as John Docherty tries to uncover the truth about his unknown brother and his own past.
It’s a gripping, rollercoaster of a thriller, something that at first seems fairly formulaic that then opens up in a much larger, shocking series of terrible crimes and cruelties. What John and his younger brother Chris uncover goes far beyond a missing child.
I think there must be something in Scottish air that creates crime writers; some of the very best in British crime fiction are Scots. And Michael Malone’s writing is up there with Ian Rankin and Val McDermid.
*I was very kindly gifted a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.