Michael is a prolific author and I’ve read a few of his titles down the years. He’s always guaranteed to produce a tightly plotted tale and in recent years he’s moved from more crimes titles to more psychological suspense tales, oftentimes with a touch of the supernatural about them. In The Absence of Miracles is very much in this territory.
When John Docherty’s mother is taken into nursing care having suffered a stroke, he has no choice but to sell her home. Of course, to do so he needs to clear it of its contents and it is in doing so that his world is turned upside down. For John finds in the attic a box, and in that box, he finds proof that he had a brother he knew nothing about, one who disappeared when he was young. This discovery forces John to reevaluate his life, everything he thought he knew, everything he thought he could remember. John starts to investigate and find answers but finds it difficult to get to the truth, for inadvertently he has uncovered a secret that threatens his emotional and mental well being.
I don’t really want to give away much more about the plot, but will say that this novel deals with issues of neglect, abuse, mental health, and much more. These are difficult subjects to write about but Malone does so with real sensitivity. The result is a beautifully written novel and one that is both touching, gripping and disturbing.
Both the plotting and characterisation in this novel are very adeptly done and In The Absence of Miracles is a poignant book that will stay with the reader long after the last page has been turned.
4 out of 5 stars