A Song of Isolation by Michael J Malone #bookreview #blogtour @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

I’m delighted to be sharing my thoughts on the stunning new novel by Micahel J Malone, A Song of Isolation on my blog today. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

A Song of Isolation by [Michael J. Malone]

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Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?

Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.

While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world.

Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives … in an instant.

MY THOUGHTS

Michael J. Malone explores some dark themes in his latest novel, A Song of Isolation. Hollywood film start, Amelie Hart is left feeling devastated when her partner, Dave is accused of child abuse by their neighbours. Because of her connection to Dave, the case is catapulted into the spotlight. They soon find themselves under intense scrutiny from the public and the media. Amelie is certain of Dave’s innocence, as is his family, but now that the wheels have been set in motion; it seems that there is little that can be done to stop the changing tide of events.

I wanted to shout at the injustice being done to Dave and Amelia while I was reading this book. I felt sure that he was being stitched up the family of the victim; I couldn’t believe they were being allowed to get away with it. Sadly, I couldn’t help but think of how very likely it is that this could happen in the real world. I’ve always believed that the names of suspects should never be released until it is proven without a doubt that they are the person responsible for the crime.

Dave’s trial garners more publicity from the media as he is currently dating a Hollywood film star. You can see the level of scrutiny that is opposed upon them, especially upon Amelia as well just for supporting her partner. Michael J. Malone also explores the effect that this has on Dave’s parents. They run a successful business, and you can see the fears that the publicity will have on his work. I kept thinking that at any moment, even Dave’s family; especially Amelia, would abandon him to save their careers. I was desperate for this not to happen. This again made me feel angry as Amelia was being pressured to drop all contact with him to save her career.

What this novel explores well, is that we are all too quick to judge people, especially celebrities, when a lot of articles printed about them can be misleading. You can see this in the way that people speak of Dave when the media essentially portray him as guilty before the case has even been brought to trial. The public soon starts talking about him, people who know him as well and say, “I always thought he looked a bit shifty.” This happens in real life, as well. All of a sudden people’s perception of a person seems to change. They convince themselves that he is guilty without looking into the facts. Is this a way, perhaps, to convince themselves that the police have convicted the right person? Does this make them feel somehow comfortable that a dangerous person, local to them, has been rightly put behind bars, removing that threat?

Throughout the book, I was rooting for Dave and Amelie to get the justice that they deserved. I felt for the alleged victim as well, Damaris, as you can see that she is being manipulated. This kept me, even more, gripped to the book as I wasn’t sure how things were going to pan out for Dave. I could see that things could go either way for him, and this made me root for him even more.

Michael J. Malone has created another stunning, powerful piece of writing that will stay with you. A Song of Isolation is a powerful, heart-wrenching read. It’s a book that challenges your thought process, and it should be on everyone’s reading pile. Highly recommended!

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 17th July 2020 (kindle) 17th September 2020 (paperback)

Print length: 300 pages

A Song of Isolation is available to buy:

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In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone #bookreview blog tour @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks @annecater

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Michael J Malone’s, In the Absence of Miracles. With thanks to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

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A young man discovers a family secret that turns his world upside down in this dark, emotive, shocking psychological thriller by number-one bestselling author Michael J. Malone

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and 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.

For 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.

Shocking, chilling 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.

MY THOUGHTS

Dark family secrets and the theme of betrayal, haunt Michael J Malone’s latest thriller, In the Absence of Miracles. This is a heart-wrenching tale, and there is such emotional depth to Michael’s writing. I was pulled in by the characters straight away. I wanted to unravel the secrets that were hiding in their past. I also wanted the answers to many questions I had about the characters themselves.

John Docherty’s elderly mother has recently suffered a massive stroke. He knows that he will need to sell the old family home to pay bills to ensure she has the care she needs. It is an uncomfortable decision he has had to make, but he knows his mother’s health must come first. But as he is clearing out items at his family’s property, he uncovers a photograph which sends his world into a spin. He may have once had a brother, a brother who he never knew about. John sets out to try and find out what happened to him. He tries to find out why his family decided to keep his existence a secret from him and his younger brother Chris. But what John discovers is far more shocking than he ever thought possible and it makes him question his own past. Things between them will never be the same again.

I really connected with John as he tried to uncover the truth. What he uncovers is devastating, and John’s emotions came through so strongly in Michael J Malone’s writing as he attempts to come to terms with what he finds. There are some tough themes which Michael explores in this book, such as sexual abuse and trafficking. I did find some parts of the story uncomfortable to read at times, but I was compelled to read on, and Michael deals with these subjects sensitively, not making them over gratuitous. Michael looks at the psychological aspect more, and this is particularly the case with John and his family. Michael examines how past events have affected them in the future. This is also what makes this book a very powerful read.

One of the things which always stand out for me in Michael’s writing is his sense of place and his description. This is something which I can see he thinks a lot about before putting pen to paper as everything he writes about is very vivid. There is tension as well here, as John and Chris come closer to learning the truth, and this is turned up a further notch in the final chapters leading to a heartbreaking and a satisfactory conclusion.

Michael J Malone has written a superb novel, and as I was reading, I felt as though I was in the hands of a very accomplished writer. I have two novels of Michael’s which I still need to catch up on, and I really need to do that very soon. In the Absence of Miracles is a novel, I feel that is best to be savoured and not one to rush. You’ll still be thinking about the characters after you have turned the final page.

Publisher: Orenda Books

Publication date: 19th September 2019

Print length: 300 pages

If you would like to purchase In the Absence of Miracles, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones

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#HouseofSpines by Michael J Malone blog tour #bookreview @OrendaBooks @michaelJmalone1

I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for House of Spines, the new novel by Michael J Malone. If you love a mix between a fantastic ghost story and a psychological thriller, this is the book for you!

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A terrifying psychological thriller cum Gothic mystery, as a young man with mental health issues inherits an isolate mansion, where all is not as it seems…

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who it seems has been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, it seems Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror… the reflection of a woman… A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

MY THOUGHTS

Before I get on with writing my review, I have to confess, this is the first book by Michael J Malone which I have read. I’ve seen his first book A Suitable Lie all over Twitter, and now that I have finished House of Spines it has jumped right up my TBR pile. I can see now what I have been missing out on.

House of Spines is an exceptional, Gothic tale with a brilliant, intertwined supernatural element. I can’t wait to read more from Michael Malone.

We are introduced to our protagonist Ranald MaGhie, a writer who hasn’t had an easy time over the last few years. He has lost both of his parents, and he recently split from his partner, Martie. We first meet Ranald when he is meeting his mother’s family lawyer. What he learns in this meeting completely changes his world. Unbeknownst to him, his mother came from aristocracy, and her family lived in a magnificent house just outside of Glasgow. The current owner of the house, his mother’s uncle, has died and Ranald is stunned to learn that he has passed the house onto him. But why hasn’t his estranged cousins raised any objection to the house being transferred to him? To them, he is a stranger, an outsider. Why are they so keen for the house to be passed to him when it could be worth many millions of pounds?

I became completely absorbed in this book from page one. Once I had started, I couldn’t stop reading. Michael Malone’s description of the house is exceptional, I can see from reading the book that he must’ve put a great deal of time and effort into the plot and into the construction of his setting. It made me wonder if the house was based on a particular property that he knew of as it really did come alive on the page.

Ranald was a great character, it was interesting to see how he coped with his new lifestyle after learning about his good fortune which for him was overwhelming at times. We all dream of that moment of winning the lottery and we wonder what we would do if money wasn’t an object and this is what I felt. It felt as though Ranald was in a very similar position to this. The characters in this book all kept me guessing as I wondered what their game really was, and I had a lot of suspicion about his cousins, which made me very keen to find out what was really going on and if Ranald was simply a pawn in one of their games. Surely they couldn’t be acting just out of the goodness of their hearts. Well, I can tell you that Michael Malone had quite a few surprises up his sleeve.

House of Spines is, at times terrifying, and also an absolutely riveting read that will keep you invested in the characters. I’ll certainly be reading Michael Malone’s first book very soon, and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. Excellent stuff. Thank you to Karen Sullivan at Orenda books for sending me a copy of this book to read and to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.

Publisher: Orenda

Publication date: 15th September 2017

Print length: 276 pages

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