Make that call

The Good Samaritan by John Marrs (out December 1st).

John Marrs proves he is the go to author for intelligent and thought provoking books.  If you know someone who loves a good thriller put this in their Christmas stocking, they’ll be very happy. Five stars!!

Most readers will find this an easy page turner, something to keep them warm at night.  After all, the characterisation is genius, especially Laura’s.  As the villain you should (and do) hate her.  Yet I also wanted to know her, to understand her this kept me absorbed in the story, despite myself.

Because for me personally this wasn’t an easy read.  In fact some passages were so graphic and real to me that I needed a breather.  All encompassing depression and suicide are the backdrop to Laura’s story.  For most readers it simply enriches the story.

But sadly, for some of us the pain of suicide is something that even years later comes up and whacks you in the face.  It’s the number one killer of young men under 45.  That’s partly because under 45 natural causes are far less likely.  Only partly because there is a true crisis in our young men who opt to take this most drastic option.

I can honestly say that I’d prefer a heart attack every day.  How completely selfish am I?  Natural causes don’t have loved ones hating the victim or becoming ill with guilt.  They dont have young children growing up as unloveable.  Natural causes give a focus to anger and loss – kicking cancer’s butt and all that.  Suicide leaves everyone adrift, including the victim.

So, what’s the answer?  Here I head back to Mr Marrs’ book.  It’s support in that absolute moment of crisis that escalates so rapidly you cannot imagine it.  That’s why despite the pain that the theme causes me, reminding people that services like the Samaritans exist is so important.  Given that most men under 45 have young families, this is a tragedy with dreadful repercussions.  We need greater awareness and more support.

I feel the need to end this post on a more lighter note – so I’ll say I’m hoping that Laura isn’t answering the phone tonight at the Samaritans or any other helpline!

Thank you to netgalley and the author for an ARC in return for an honest review.

Found the one yet?!

The One John Marrs (out January 26th)

How far would you go to find the one?

This deserves to be the book every dinner party is talking about.

Emotive, imaginative and with a heathy dose of morality, that pretty much sums up the premise of John Marrs’ third book. Add in Mr Marrs’ trademark ability to turn multiple characters and storylines into a gripping tale and you have an absolutely brilliant book.

Clearly, the author is a fan of the slow burn. He lets the characters seep into your consciousness and before you know it, you’re lost to a can’t put it down book! And I do mean can’t put it down!

So, the question is if you could take a simple DNA test to find your perfect match, your true soul mate, would you? If you were happily married would you take the risk? Once you take the test are you forever sitting and waiting for your DNA match? What if you’ve no interest in taking the test, are you robbing someone of their match? What if yours is a same sex match, are you gay and not aware? Oh, the permeations are endless.

Yes, there’s a bit of a sci-fi dystopian feel, but it’s the powerful exploration of human nature that makes this book. Who knew that a DNA matched pair would have such social cache? Equally, how can social prejudice exist if your match is just as likely to be a black man when you expected a white woman? What would Nigel Farrage make of it? Interesting isn’t it?

I loved how the author combined the minutiae of the human drama with the big story that hurtles towards you at light speed. The combination of light and dark, soft and harsh had me gasping.

Brilliant story, brilliantly told. I dare you not to talk about it.

Thank you you to the publishers and netgalley for an arc in return for an honest review.  This book was previously published as A Thousand Small Explosions.

 

Genetic love

image

A Thousand Small Explosions John Marrs out July 15th

Emotive, imaginative and with a heathy dose of morality, that pretty much sums up the premise of John Marrs’ third book.  Add in Mr Marrs’ trademark ability to turn multiple characters and storylines into a gripping tale and you have an absolutely brilliant book.

Clearly, the author is a fan of the slow burn. He lets the characters seep into your consciousness and before you know it, you’re lost to a can’t put it down book!  And I do mean can’t put it down!

So, the question is if you could take a simple DNA test to find your perfect match, your true soul mate, would you?  If you were happily married would you take the risk?  Once you take the test are you forever sitting and waiting for your DNA match? What if you’ve no interest in taking the test, are you robbing someone of their match?  What if yours is a same sex match, are you gay and not aware? Oh, the permeations are endless.

Yes, there’s a bit of a sci-fi dystopian feel, but it’s the powerful exploration of human nature that makes this book. Who knew that a DNA matched pair would have such social cache?  Equally, how can social prejudice exist if your match is just as likely to be a black man when you expected a white woman? Interesting isn’t it?

I loved how the author combined the minutiae of the human drama with the big story that hurtles towards you at light speed.  The combination of light and dark, soft and harsh had me gasping.

The only downside of this book is that for whatever reason John Marrs remains an independent author, so you’ll only hear about it via word of mouth or social media. So, if you’re now a fan it’s down to you to spread the message!

 

Thank you to the author and TBConFB (probably the world’s best book club) for an ARC, in return for an honest review.

He’s no Joe Dolce

Welcome to Wherever You Are by John Marrs

John Marrs’ second book proves he’s no one hit wonder.  In fact, he demonstrates he’s a master of stories that flit across time and distance.  If you read The Wronged Sons you’ll know he loves a dark dark character and a horrid twist – that’s definitely consistent!

I wonder if the author read Hansel & Gretel a lot as a kid, because he sure knows how to pepper his stories with little breadcrumbs (or in this case gems).  Believe me, if you’re not quick you’ll miss them!  I did way too often.

The story is about eight different seemingly unconnected individuals drawn to the one hostel – sounds complex and it is.  Yet, what surprised me is that its a doddle to follow.  Not once did I get lost and trudge back over a chapter to work out who is who.  Its simply written and totally grabbed me, but the characters, their back stories and their motivations are complex.  It should have been harder to keep – thankfully it wasn’t!

There was just enough humour and grit in his characters to bring the odd smile as you dealt with the next hit to your solar plexus!  Having back packed myself I can vouch for the accuracy of the way the characters interacted.  Although I admit I turned my nose up at any establishment that rough!

What’s annoyed me however, was that the author has yet again gone the independent route to publish his book.  Clearly, I don’t know the many conversations he’s had since the success of The Wronged Sons, but there’s something very very wrong with an industry that hasn’t adopted John and these two books as the next big thing.  I hope its just that he likes being independent, but he deserves international success for both books.

Despite being given an ARC a few days before publication, I happily bought the kindle version – power to the indies!

Thank you to John Marrs and THE Bookclub on FB for the ARC in return for an honest review

 

Throw it at the wall

The Wronged Sons by John Marrs

Reading this book on the kindle simply won’t allow you to properly give in to the frustration.

You will be hamstrung by the absolute need to throw it at the wall and to do so frequently. Given how much I love my kindle the fact that I was even tempted to throw it shows how gripping this book is.

Unlike most authors, it’s pretty clear that John Marrs intends for his reader to be frustrated and increasingly maddened.  His lead character Simon has to be one of the most disgusting characters in modern literature. Page by damn page he gets worse. And what can you do?

Time after time I put the book down swearing I was done.  But The Wronged Sons was not done with me, it was inside my head. Quite simply I had to know why he’d done it. So, I was a glutton for punishment over and again.

Reflecting back on it, I’m intrigued about the title.  Its true the story is that of a series of men wronged by their parents.  But what about the daughters?  Or indeed the Wronged Wife?

The title for me also reflects also on the culpability of Simon – he hides behind his own life as a wronged son, and what point was he responsible for himself?  And maybe also Catherine’s own decisions.  When do you move from being the child with a traumatic background excused for so much to being a responsible adult held to account?

The ending has been much discussed.  I would have preferred a neatly packaged solution but given the nature of the book, that wasn’t an option.  Thank god really – what on earth would I know?!  A month after reading it, I’m still gripped.