Category Archives: Michael J Malone

In The Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone @MichaelJMalone @OrendaBooks #BookReview #MustReads #BookHangoverAward

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for In The Absence Of Miracles by M J Malone, a potential contender for my book of the year read on for my thoughts…

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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.

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There are books that are shocking and twisted, and then there’s In The Absence Of Miracles by Michael Malone! Shocking, doesn’t even come close to describing this remarkable book. This isn’t a book I feel fits into one particular genre, it’s part domestic noir, suspense, and crime thriller all rolled into one to create one of the most compelling, powerful and emotive reads I’ve had the pleasure to come across in the last few years.  This book reminds me of one of the author’s earlier books A Suitable Lie   that still remains one of my favourite reads. In The Absence Of Miracles is the heartbreaking story of one dysfunctional family, it’s a story that pulls no punches and one that will rip your heart out.

John Docherty’s mother suffered a massive stroke and is now receiving around the clock care in a nursing home. It’s left to John to clear the family home, buried among boxes he finds evidence that he has a brother, John has no memory of the brother and what follows is the story of John’s journey to discovering the truth. The truth will cause John heartbreak, pain, bewilderment and shame, as repressed memories from his childhood begin to emerge, he finds the truth is far more shocking than anything he could ever had imagined. Each page of this book crackles with emotion, it’s intense, dark, gritty and yet hidden amongst the pages are the fragile threads of hope.  

The author has showed great sensitivity and understanding and in creating an all too believable character, John Docherty is one of those rare characters who consumed my every waking moment, he’s a man in turmoil, determined to self destruct, he’s  a man drowning in guilt, resentment and disgust. His story will grab at your heart and squeeze it so tight it might just explode. The author has created such an incredible character it’s impossible not to become consumed by his story, add to that the author’s extraordinary prose which describe John’s emotions perfectly I found my heart shattering into a million tiny pieces. I’m sure I felt every emotion John felt whilst reading this book. As John’s repressed memories began to surface and you see a man teetering on the brink, I wanted to tell him ‘everything would be alright’ but because of the nature of the book I wasn’t convinced there could be a ‘happy ending’.

I think the author has taken a brave decision, in writing a book that explores a taboo subject matter, that’s seldom discussed so fixed is the stigma attached to this subject. In some author’s hands this would have just made for a shocking read, but Malone strikes the right balance and has produced a masterpiece, it’s subtle, sensitivity written, wrought with emotion and has to be one of my most captivating, heartbreaking reads EVER! Michael Malone is one of those rare author who appears to be able to write in any genre and turn what could be an interesting read, into something extra special, definitely a book that will stay with me for a long time to come. In The Absence Of Miracles is certainly a contender for my book of the year and one I will be recommending to anybody and everybody

  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (19 July 2019)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧    Amazon US 🇺🇸

And yes in case you hadn’t already guessed I’m giving In The Absence Of Miracles my shiny Book hangover award, It’s given to a book I feel is particularly outstanding, a book that covers every aspect of what I look for in a read, an original  plot, great characters and a storyline that draws me in from the first page and keeps me in its grips until I reach the very last page.

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My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for giving me the opportunity to read this fabulous book. I received this ARC in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.

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#BookReview: After He Died by Michael J. Malone (@michaelJmalone1) @OrendaBooks #AfterHeDied

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my review for After He Died by Michael J. Malone, but first the book description

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You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note 

suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…

When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.

Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

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Michael J Malone never fails to surprise me, he is such a versatile author, Crime, Gothic mystery, domestic noir, psychological thriller, which every genre he chooses to write about, its obvious he puts his heart and soul into his writing. When I read the book description for After He Died I convinced myself this novel was going to be purely domestic noir, along the lines of one of his previous books A Suitable Lie (which is one of my favourite books EVER by the way) but  apologises to the author as I should have known better, this novel doesn’t fit into one particular  genre, it has mystery, crime and Psychological aspects which made this novel an unique and extraordinary read. 

After He Died is the story of Paula Gadd, newly widowed. We first meet Paula at her husband’s funeral where she is approached by Cara a strange young woman  who mutters one heart stopping sentence “your husband is not the man you thought he was”. Of course once said Paula’s imagination goes into over drive, what secrets as her husband been hiding? How can the man she trusted the most harbour secrets from her? As she tries to unravel the truth with only her husband’s family to turn to, events take a very dangerous and sinister turn. I really thought this novel would take the familiar route in domestic noir, but Michael J Malone does the exact opposite and takes the reader on a unique ride, one full of surprises, mystery and copious amounts of  suspense.  

The author captures Paula’s grief perfectly as the reader you feel her pain, bewilderment and overwhelming sense of loss. Cara’s character is the complete opposite of Paula’s she hasn’t had an easy life but she’s determined and resourceful. Paula despite her grief is determined to find the truth about her husband however painful that might be, and Cara needs answers to her own personal tragedy. What I particularly enjoyed about this book was the way in which the author places Paula in a world she has never had to really think about, living a very comfortable and charmed life (to a point) she is shown through Cara’s work, that not everyone has the comfortable lifestyle she has very much taken for granted.   

Throughout After He Died I find myself completely immersed in Paula’s and Cara’s story, it’s gripping and not without surprises. The tension slowly simmers, as the author deftly reveals hidden secrets, lies and the worse kind of betrayal, exploding in a shocking conclusion which also felt to be a very fitting one. Once again Michael J Malone has written  an intensely gripping tale, it’s one that reminds the reader what an exceptional and talented writer the author is.  Highly recommended.  

  •  Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS; None edition (30 July 2018)

Buying links:    Amazon UK 🇬🇧       Amazon US 🇺🇸

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**Blog Tour** House Of Spines by Michael J Malone @OrendaBooks @michaelJmalone1 #BookReview

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Today I’m thrilled to be one of the stops on the blog tour for the terrifying psychological thriller House Of Spines by the very awesome Michael J Malone. It’s published by the superb Orenda Books and the good news is you can actually by a kindle copy right this minute or you can pre-order the book which is published on the 15th September 2017, links included further down this post.

Book description

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…

A house with a troubled past

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Oh my I really struggled to write a review for this book why? Because I’m not sure anything I write will truly reflect what a fabulous and enthralling read House Of Spines turned out to be. Ever since I read A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone I’ve been eagerly awaiting for his next offering. Firstly I have to mention what a versatile and gifted writer Michael J Malone is, I’m amazed that he’s gone from writing about domestic abuse to the eloquently and beautifully written House Of Spines.

One of my favourite things when I’m reading a book are an author’s description of a setting, and the author describes Newton Hall with a great deal of passion and imagination. Newton Hall is deceiving, a beautiful home full of wealth and splendour, but it also a house that feels claustrophobic, chilling and terrifying, it’s a house shrouded in mystery and secrets. The author’s descriptions give the reader an overwhelming sense of unease and trepidation, one that grows stronger as the novel progresses.

When Ran inherits Newton Hall, a vast and elegant mansion filled with books, it seems all his troubles are over, but little does he realise they are just beginning. From the moment Ran walks through the doors of his new home he senses a chilling presence, a presence that will soon consume his every waking moment, even sleep will give him no relief. What follows is a disquieting tale that has so many themes running through it, lust, betrayal, lies and greed.

I do love an unreliable narrator and Ran certainly fits the bill perfectly. As the author weaves his magic and Ran’s mental health issues begin to surface you cant help but wonder how much of what Ran is experiencing is real. Are the ghostly images he see’s part of his escalating illness? or is there something far more sinster hiding in the shadows of his lavish home? This novel oozes with tension and although the pace is slow, each page adds layer about layer of intrigue and malice. I really wasn’t sure where this story was heading, but WOW when I reached the climax I sat there open mouthed stunned by this simply mind blowing novel.

I want to say so much about this book, but in doing so I could possibly give away spoilers which is never my attention, but what I will say is the author has written a novel that is both captivating yet horrifying, it’s dark with a constant sense of malevolence bubbling away under the surface, with elements of fear, horror, death, and gloom running through this novel it has a very gothic feel to it, which only adds weight to this very creepy read. House Of Spines is an very original psychological thriller and one I would urge anyone and everyone to read just because it’s such a powerful and beautifully haunting novel.

Buying links:  Amazon UK 🇬🇧        Amazon US 🇺🇸

Print Length: 276 pages

Publisher: ORENDA BOOKS (29 Aug. 2017)

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Michael Malone was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult, maybe.

He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In-Residence for an adult gift shop. Don’t ask.

BLOOD TEARS, his debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge:Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers and when it was published he added a “J” to his name to differentiate it from the work of his talented U.S. namesake.

He is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website www.crimesquad.com and his blog, May Contain Nuts can be found at http://mickmal1.blogspot.com/

He can be found on twitter – @michaelJmalone1

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**Top Five Friday** With The Book Review Café psychological thrillers

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Today on Top Five Friday I thought I would share my top five psychological thrillers with you. There are some fantastic books out there in this genre but I’m going with the ones that stuck with me long after I finished them.

Lisa Hall

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Between You And Me remains one of my top reads, as I never seen the twist coming until it hit me in the face. This was Lisa Hall’s debut novel. and what a debut, it’s well written and a superbly plotted Psychological thriller with the mother of all twists.

Sarah Pinborough

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Behind Her Eyes is one that will certainly mess with your head and it certainly deserves the hashtag #WTFthatending. I did have to suspend belief as Behind Her Eyes reached its dramatic and shocking conclusion now this usually leaves me feeling short changed, but my god Sarah Pinborough has written such a unique story I was happy to fall for it hook, line and sinker, and yes I did think “WTF” just happened?

Michael J Malone

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A Suitable Lie was an amazing book  never have I felt so emotionally drained after reading a novel. Whilst reading this book I experienced so many emotions, anger, bewilderment and intense dislike to name but a few. A Suitable Lie has to be one of the most unsettling and disturbing stories I have read in a long time.

Clare Mackintosh

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I See You never lets up on the suspense and manages to maintain it right until the chilling conclusion.  There were plenty of “heart in your mouth” moments, which made this book impossible to put down.

Julia Crouch

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This is an absolute cracker of a read and what a compelling and unsettling thriller Her Husband’s Lover by Julia Crouch turned out to be. I have read numerous novels that have been described as domestic noir, but this one takes you somewhere much darker, it’s disturbing and uncomfortable at times, but it’s a hell of a twisted tale

All my reviews for the above books can be found here….

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/02/26/between-you-and-me-by-lisa-hall/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/06/22/author-interview-between-you-and-me-by-lisa-hall-no-spoilers/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2017/01/29/blog-tour-behind-her-eyes-by-sarah-pinborough-authorinterview-review-sarahpinborough-wtfthatending/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/10/26/a-suitable-lie-by-michael-j-malone-michaeljmalone1-orendabooks-review/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/07/29/i-see-you-by-clare-mackintosh-review/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/12/28/her-husbands-lover-by-julia-crouch-review-thatjuliacrouch-headlinepg/

 

#TopFiveThursday with #BookBlogger Noelle Holten aka CrimeBookJunkie (eeeek)

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Eeeeek I’m really thrilled to have the awesome Noelle Holten aka https://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk answer today’s #TopFiveThursday. I’m sure Noelle needs no introduction she has to be one of the most enthusiastic bloggers I know, her reviews often contain an eeeek or two!

Noelle mostly reviews crime books but every now and the she lets guest reviewer Claire Knight take over her blog.  If you haven’t checked out Noelle’s blog (where the hell have you been?) it’s well worth a look and her enthusiastic reviews make me buy books I never thought I needed. So without further ado here’s Noelle’s #TopFiveThursday. 

P.S how many eeeks can you count in Noelle’s post? 

Top 5 books you read in 2016?

Wow! I am not sure how I can narrow this down and need to put a disclaimer in to say that I have read some amazing books last year and know I also have some amazing ones left to read…but here goes (in no particular order)

I Know Your Secret by Graham Smith

No Longer Safe by AJ Waines

The Exclusion Zone by Jeanette Hewitt

Open Wounds by Douglas Skelton

A Suitable Lie by Michael J Malone
…eeeek! I wanted to keep going

Top 5 authors you think everyone should read?

Again, you are killing me here Lorraine as there are so many! Two will be repeats from above because I just adore them! That is,

Graham Smith and the #DIHarryEvans series and

Michael J Malone – all his books!

Mel Sherratt has some amazing books too, so going to put her here as well! And my final two:

Paul Grzegorzek – totally awesome writer

Craig Russell – I adore the #Lennox series and cannot wait to get caught up on this!

Top 5 books you want to read before the end of 2017?

…searches through TBR…….I want to read

A Room Full Of Killers by Michael Wood

Watch Her Disappear by Eva Dolan

Then She Was Gone by Luca Veste

Pendulum by Adam Hamby

Rattle by Fiona Cummings!

Top 5 blogging tips that you would give to new bloggers?

Don’t feel pressured – if it starts to feel like a chore, take a break.

Embrace the blogging community – they are awesome and I have made some life long friends

Write what you feel, enjoy it – make it your own.

Learn to say “No” or you will find yourself drowning in books …amazing books…but so many books!

Get a diary! ha ha – I would be lost without one and it’s a great excuse to buy some pretty stationary!

Top 5 book blogs you follow? 

You are killing me here! There are SO many I want to shout out about but I am a die hard friend and follower of:

Sarah at https://bytheletterbookreviews.wordpress.com/

Kate at http://www.bibliophilebookclub.com

Joseph at http://relaxandreadreviews.weebly.com

Shell at http://chellesbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

Kat at http://www.bestcrimebooksandmore.co.uk

…..I know that is FIVE but also Grab This Book, The Suspense Is Thrilling Me, Chapter In My Life and Damppebbles…..ok…I will stop now as there are some amazing bloggers out there!

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My name is Noelle and I am in my 40’s. I am an avid reader and by that I mean I am never without a book! By day I am a Senior Probation Officer and by night I read all things crime!! My fascination for books started at a young age and I truly feel withdrawal symptoms if I am unable to read for a few days hence the name #crimebookjunkie!

I am interested in many genres, my faves being Grit Lit, psychological thrillers and all things murder. I do enjoy Police Procedurals and legal/action thrillers as well. I have been lucky enough to be taken on by Bookouture (Eeeek!) on a freelance basis as well as Britains Next Best Seller (Eeeeeek again!) Oh..and I am obsessed with my chocolate Lab Buster – love my #furrybaby!

Thanks so much, Lorraine for letting me take part and cheat a wee bit! #NaughtyNoelle

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Links: CrimeBookJunkieBlog         Facebook       Twitter: @nholten40

My thanks to Noelle for taking time out of her hectic schedule to take part in #TopFiveThursday. 

If you are a book blogger who would like to take part in this feature, please leave a comment on this post or contact me via my contact page which can be found on the home page of my blog thank you  

 

**End Of The Year Wrap Up **

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Well I for one will be glad to see the back of 2016, for many reasons this hasn’t been the best year I’ve ever had. I’m going to embrace 2017 though and make it my year to take on new challenges.

Now I’m not one for New Years resolutions I always fail at the first hurdle (usually the 2nd of January 😂), but I am hoping to do a couple of things regarding my reading and my blog

  • Read some books from my TBR pile, which I’m desperate to get through
  • cut down on blog tours, as there’s too much pressure to read a book in a limited time
  • Only request one book at a time on NetGalley (this ones going to be hard)
  • if I’m not enjoying a book, I DON’T have to finish it, after all there are far too many amazing books out there to waste time on a duff one!
  • learn to say “no” it’s ok NOT to agree to read and review every book that comes my way (my new mantra😂)
  • Read more books by authors that are new to me, I’ve already got a couple lined up…..so watch this space!

Although I haven’t compiled a list of my top reads, here are just some of the books I really enjoyed this year and would highly recommend.

My top five most read posts

You can read the reviews here……

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/02/11/author-interview-behind-closed-doors-by-b-a-paris/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/02/08/behind-closed-doors-by-b-a-paris/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/01/26/tainted-love-by-kimberley-chambers/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/02/26/between-you-and-me-by-lisa-hall/

https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/06/10/the-sister-by-louise-jenson/

My First read of 2017

My first read of 2017 is Snatched From Home by Graham Smith, this is a book that has been sat on my TBR pile for a while, it’s also by an author I haven’t read yet which means I’ve already started on my goals for 2017

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Books I’ve read to watch out for in 2017
As the end of the year approaches I would like to say a huge thank you to each and everyone of you who follows my blog and wish you all a fabulous New Year and hope all your dreams come true.
Lorraine x x x

 

 

#BookOfThe Month October 2016 @michaelJmalone1 @orendaBooks

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As it’s the last day of October today (Happy Halloween by the way 🎃🕸👻🎃) I thought I would post my book of the month for October 2016. 

I’ve read some fabulous books this month and four books got my special “gold star award“, books that I consider be an outstanding read. I really can’t recommend theses books highly enough and they are certainly worthy of being added to any crime thrillers TBR pile they include……..

Dark Waters by Robert Bryndza

Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land 

The Killing Game by J.S. Carol

Untouchable by Sibel Hodge

But there’s one book that stands out  for me it covered ever aspect of what I look for in a good read, fantastic plot, great characters and a storyline that drew me in from the first page and kept me in its grip until I reached the very last page, it also made me cry as it was heartbreaking, but dark and very sinister, so If you haven’t already guessed my book of the month is……..

A Suitable Lie By Michael J Malone

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Book description

Some secrets should never be kept… Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match … and she loves his son like he is her own.

When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. Desperate for that happy-ever-after, he ignores it. A dangerous mistake that could cost him everything.

A brave, deeply moving, page-turning psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland’s finest crime writers, exploring the lengths people will go to hide their deepest secrets, even if it kills them…

My thanks to Karen over at Orenda books and Michael J Malone for giving me the chance to read this fabulous book. 

You can read my full review here…..
https://thebookreviewcafe.com/2016/10/26/a-suitable-lie-by-michael-j-malone-michaeljmalone1-orendabooks-review/

Or you can buy a copy here…….