About this book…
Andy Boyd thinks he is the luckiest man alive. Widowed with a young child, after his wife dies in childbirth, he is certain that he will never again experience true love. Then he meets Anna. Feisty, fun and beautiful, she’s his perfect match… And she loves his son, too. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems. He ignores it; a dangerous mistake that could cost him everything. A brave, deeply moving psychological thriller which marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland’s top crime writers.
So, after being told by so many readers and reviewers that this was their top book of 2016 and that I HAD to read it, I finally gave in. But I was worried that this book and its author now had an awful lot to live up to. So did it? Absolutely 100% yes!!
Domestic violence is always going to be a tricky subject to write about, there is typically going to be half of a partnership that you are going to detest for their abusive nature. So to be able to evoke feelings of sympathy for both parties is a pretty impressive feat. But that’s exactly what the author has managed to do here. When we meet Andy he is about to have a rare night out with his brother Jim. Andy has been a widow since his wife died giving birth to their son but that night he meets Anna, a beautiful young woman who is about to bring love and joy back to his life. But on their wedding night, Andy sees a side to Anna that shocks him. Now, Andy is a big, burly Scotsman and Anna a petite 7 stone so it’s understandable that Andy feels embarrassed and unable to admit to his family what is really behind his cuts and bruises. And all the signs that scream “domestic abuse” for a woman (withdrawing from their family, lying about injuries, making excuses for their partner) well, they aren’t so easy to spot when it’s a male victim. Society still seems to see it as a bit of a joke unfortunately, long after those sketch shows of the 1970s, with their scenes featuring the woman of the house chasing her husband with a rolling pin, were consigned to the depths of social history.
For me the highlight of this book was how much I loved the character of Andy. Right from the start I found myself thinking “he is going to make one lucky girl very happy!” He was close to his family and was a nice young man, one who was brought up to respect women and his peers. So it was no surprise that he reacted as he did when Anna started to show her true colours. No matter how close you are to you family, there is still a sense of shame hanging over you if you have to admit what is happening to the people who love you the most.
This is a hard hitting book, one that is difficult to read at times but utterly compelling. From start to finish I found it hard to tear myself away from the horror of what was happening. I wanted to close my eyes to chase away the images being conjured up by the wonderfully descriptive prose but with so many emotions running around my head there was no escape. I experienced fear for Andy and his family, loathing for Anna but also a huge sympathy for them all-how different their lives could have been. My heart just ached for them all in a situation where there were never going to be any winners, just survivors.
A Suitable Lie is a book that will stay with its reader for a long time after finishing it. Be prepared to run through a full range of emotions, and see which one stays with you at the end. Mine was sadness that I had finished reading such a powerful book but tinged with hope that it may have, somewhere or somehow, changed one person’s life.
Highly recommended by me and many thanks to Karen at Orenda for my review copy of A Suitable Lie.
A Suitable Lie was published by Orenda books on 15th September 2016 and is available to buy here.
About the Author…
Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who 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. 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. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge: Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers.Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call (a non-fiction work about successful modern-day Scots); A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; and Beyond the Rage. His poetry includes: In The Raw, Running Threads and Lip Synch. Michael is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.