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.
I knew as soon as I turned the last page of this book, that I would struggle to write a review! ‘In the Absence of Miracles’ has left my emotions shredded and my mind unsettled, in a good way. Michael J Malone has written a story that is raw, gripping, shocking and incredibly powerful. What starts out as a family mystery turns into something that plunges readers into the darkest of subjects and on a journey that is inescapable.
John Docherty discovers a family secret as he cleans out his mother’s attic – an older brother. An older brother he has no recollection of. An older brother that his parents never spoke about. And along with his younger brother, Chris, he sets out to find the truth. But sometimes the past should stay buried and secrets should remain in the shadows.
John is a character full of flaws, he drinks too much, he can’t commit to relationships, he struggles with his job as a teacher. He is a character who readers really come to love, your heart bursts with sympathy for him and you become desperate for him to find the answers and the peace he needs. At times I just wanted to shake him out of frustration and other times I just wanted to cry for him. The whole book hums with emotion and tension, you really are put through the wringer while you read this!
The subject matter is a hard one to witness, many readers will struggle with it. But Michael J Malone has written it with compassion and sensitivity. Despite the darkness of this book, there is light to it as well and a wonderful sense of hope. Moving, chilling, gut-wrenching and completely engrossing. This might be my first Malone book, but it certainly won’t be my last.
‘In The Absence of Miracles’ is published in paperback on the 19th of September by Orenda. Thank you to Orenda for my reading copy and to Anne Cater of Random Thing Tours for my blog tour invite. Make sure you visit the other stops on the tour!