Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.
Do you believe in second chances? When widowed single father Andy Boyd meets Anna it seems like a new beginning. They marry in haste and then come to regret the decision at their leisure. Anna, is a damaged woman with a violent temper, behind the false front of their happy marriage lurks a darker reality, one that seems headed for only one tragic conclusion.
The shocking secret hidden behind closed doors and fixed smiles is a well-established convention of the thriller genre. In this book Michael J Malone presents his readers with one of the most shocking secrets of them all, a taboo wrapped in layers of social inhibitions; domestic violence where the victim is male.
He shows an understanding of the slow and insidious way abusers gain and exert power over their victims, gradually undermining their confidence and sense of autonomy until they become dependent on the relationship that is destroying them. Malone also combines cultural conventions relating to masculinity that prevent the victim from defending himself or even recognising the problem exists.
Domestic violence with the male as the victim is undeniably a heavy subject for a crime thriller. Malone handles it with sensitivity, coupled to a consummate understanding of narrative pace and atmosphere. He builds up a convincing picture of Andy's growing isolation, and the anxiety induced by having to maintain the façade he feels society expects him to project.
There is a small amount of slightly clunky exposition and the last quarter of the book strays into more conventional thriller territory which, although well handled, disappoints slightly when compared to what went before. This is, perhaps, more due to the binary view of the genre taken by publishers and readers than any failing as a storyteller on the part of Malone.
Neither criticism is serious enough to detract from the quality of what is an important book that brings a little discussed topic to the attention of its readers.