Review: In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone

In the Absence of Miracles by Michael J. Malone

Publication Date: September 19, 2019
Orenda Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

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.



Well, this is going to be one tough review to write. Author Michael Malone has had me on an emotional roller coaster for the past few days with this incredible book and I'm still thinking about it.

The book starts off with John's mother having had a stroke and living in a care center to receive help. When John realizes that he won't be able to support her and that she probably won't be coming home he decides to clean out the house to sell it. When he comes across a family photograph he hadn't seen before with a brother he never knew about, it starts off a series of events that will ultimately shock John (and you, the reader!).

Working with his other brother Chris they investigate who is in the photograph and what happened to him, and why his parents kept it a secret from them. The answer was no where near what I expected it to be! I was absolutely floored!

Heart-wrenching and brutal, this story will grab you by the heart. I felt so much for these boys and my heart broke for them. The author's writing was beautiful, even with the tough subject matter. I was a mess at the end and know I will be thinking of this book for a long time.

Thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for the chance to read In The Absence of Miracles! I highly recommend it.

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.

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