Absolutely THRILLED to be hosting Michael J Malone’s AFTER HE DIED blog tour today! Mahoosive thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater for the invite and the ARC. How I about I share a little about the author and this most fabulous book before I get to my review!
About the Author
Michael J. 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.
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…
Set in Bute and Glasgow, the reader is whisked to a world where loss, lies. betrayal, secrets, status, jealousy, greed, anger, obsession, retribution, mistrust, grief, relationships, anger and a search for the truth ensnare us, leaving us wanting more.
OMFG- that opening! I am not lying when I say I heard a gasp and it took a few seconds to realise it was coming from me! The emotions evoked by a simple note – well JAYSUS…instinctually I muttered WTAF and immediately knew I was HOOKED! I have #AllTheLove for Mr Malone’s writing – it’s vibrant, beautiful and cleverly delivered. The plot was compelling and bloody intriguing as I had no clue what was happening – my mind was in overdrive! The characters were superbly written – I was drawn to some and repelled by others. This was a trio of tantalisation – domestic noir, psychological thriller and crime thriller interwoven, that absolutely will have you turning the pages at break neck speed! There is also this delicious tease of a slow build up as the tension becomes almost too much to bear and then …BOOM! It’s all go! go! go!
One of my favourite things about reading a book by Michael J Malone is his unique ability to make me feel for his characters. I definitely think this book is strongly character driven and with such a curious storyline, it was a pure winner for me! Paula Gadd, for instance, was actually not the most likeable person in my opinion. However, there is just something about her that makes you want her to find out the truth behind her husband’s death. Her relationship with Father Joe (her husband’s brother) was absolutely wonderful and touching. The dynamic between this pair made me smile each time they came together on the pages. A strong friendship and deep (non-sexual) love for each other was just so moving and a pleasure to read. ADORED them both!
Another character worth mentioning is Cara Connolly who hails from a totally different class than Paula – yet despite the clashes, they work together to unravel the mess that eventually lead to the downfall and death of Paula’s husband. I really loved Cara’s determined natured, strong will and take-no-sh*t attitude.
I must say, I nearly wet myself with pure GLEE when I saw DC Rossi and Drain appear and I hoped beyond hope that maybe McBain might appear as well (this is another series that Mr Malone writes and it is one of my favourites!) – but alas, it was not to be…but in all honesty, I think the author dropping in this pair was just enough to keep fans on edge whilst introducing these characters to new readers. I will say, DI Holten and DI Bairden from A Suitable Lie would have also been a nice addition… #justsaying! ha ha ha
There were so many unreliable people: the good, the bad and the ugly, and I loved what each one added to this story. I dare not talk about anymore as I don’t want to give anything away.
Would I recommend this read? Hmm, let me think. A riveting and complex storyline that starts off one way and then all hell breaks loose leaving your mind blown – CHECK. A great narrative that brings each character alive so you feel like you know these people – CHECK. And some twists, OMFG moments that had me squealing with delight…Hell-to-the-yeah CHECK. After He Died was an atmospheric read that had me racing to the pages, I highly recommend everyone read it. Don’t take my word for it though, see what everyone else on the tour thinks: