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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.2 out of 5
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  • A deeply moving and inevitably tragic tale

    ‘A Suitable Lie’ is a beautifully written, often harrowing tale. From the very first page I was engaged and invested in Andy. He was such a personable character, so in love with his son, that you couldn’t help but like him and feel for him. When he met Anna, I was happy for him, but that meant meeting the ‘real’ Anna was all the more shocking. And this is where Michael J. Malone has created a true work of art. This is domestic noir flipped on it’s head and it is tragically, shockingly brilliant. Andy is not oblivious to the subject of domestic abuse, one of his employees has suffered at the hands of her husband for years, and Andy has to help her deal with the aftermath. But that is the normal, dare I say ‘acceptable face’ of domestic or spousal abuse. The man against the woman, The strong aggressor against the weaker sex. So when Andy becomes the victim, his smaller, ‘weaker’ wife the aggressor, there is an extra layer of shame that he feels, not just from the beatings he endures or the guilt he is made to feel, but the embarrassment of allowing someone so much smaller to dominate him. He cannot speak to anyone, not even his colleague, because he knows they will not believe him. It’s simply not possible. The setting perhaps adds another layer of disbelief to Andy’s tale as he is a burly, rugby playing Scotsman, not typically the kind you would accept could allow this to happen. The idea of spousal abuse, wife to husband, may be more accepted these days, more reported, but when you bear in mind this book is set in the late 1990’s, the lack of action, the lack of belief by anyone that Andy could possibly be a victim, is completely understandable. There are many themes touched upon in the book that are very telling of this period in history, where the world was just starting to wake up to political correctness, and anything outside of the norm was treated with suspicion or derision. Malone has captured this era perfectly, and the acceptance of Anna’s behaviour by Andy, the reluctance to retaliate is all the more poignant because he is doing it to set an example to his sons. His love for Pat and his younger brother is beautiful and all consuming. He will not stop Anna because he understands his power, how he could hurt her. He will not leave her because he knows he will lose his sons. And part of him still loves her, the part that knows she is hurting and scared too. Malone has built up a brilliant character in Anna too. Yes she is psychotic, controlling, jealous, but her back story is also tragic and disturbingly real. Reading about it was very hard for me as there were so many echoes of my own childhood in those pages that I had to form an almost clinical detachment in order to read on. I recognise much of my own youthful anger in Anna and it is strange to be able to empathise with someone who can be so cruel. And yet I do. And I am glad that I did read on. Malone does not play any aspect of the violence for shocks. It is written so simply, so sympathetically, that it is this understated way or relaying what has happened that makes the imagery all the more evocative, more shocking. It reflects Andy’s peaceful nature, so that the words you read are far more jarring. If you are a victim of domestic abuse or suffered a violent childhood then I do advise caution. But I also think you should read this book. It is a truly moving story and brought forth such a range of emotions in me. I could feel myself welling up at times and at others, as I said earlier, I had to read with clinical detachment, but this is a purely personal experience. I could often feel my heart pounding in my chest, willing Andy to find a way, willing him to take action, desperate fpor Anna not to defeat him, and stunned by the cruel way in which everything was taken away. But no matter what I was feeling about the book, I simply could not walk away. I read this in one single afternoon. I shall remember it for much longer. A stunning book, this is another truly beautiful offering from the Orenda stable. A deeply moving, tragically beautiful 5 stars.

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  • A Suitable Lie

    I became very involved when reading this book. It presents marital abuse from the perspective of a man being beaten and abused by his much smaller wife, whilst feeling unable to retaliate because of his size. This shaming treatment completely erodes his self-confidence in both professional and personal aspects of his life. Well worth reading.

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  • Tremendous!

    It's not often a book takes my breath away but by the end of "A Suitable Lie", I was left totally breathless and gasping for air! From the very first sentence I was glued to the pages and although very disturbing to read at times, it was compelling, addictive and utterly brilliant. I've only read one or two books before, that focus on domestic abuse where the man is the victim and I thought the author portrayed this story with such delicacy and empathy yet still hitting home the importance of recognising domestic violence. I had so much sympathy for Andy putting his family first and at times I did feel for Anna since it was very obvious she was a seriously troubled woman. There's so much I could comment on about the story but I don't want to give away any spoilers, so you'll just have to take my word for it, that this is a really intriguing book with a storyline that would give many TV dramas a run for their money! Apart from the main issue this book covers, there is a fantastic psychological domestic thriller unwinding throughout that I thought was just fabulous. Well crafted, plotted and executed, the author Michael J Malone has written a corker of a story, that for me will stay in my mind for a very long time. One of the best psychological thrillers I have EVER read, I can't recommend this book enough - as long as you are fully aware there are moments which may cause upset if you're triggered by domestic violence. I have also read and loved "House of Spines" written too by this author and I have his latest offering "After He Died" waiting to read very soon and have very high hopes for it. I can't recommend Michael J Malone and "A Suitable Lie" enough, although very much an adult story, I just know thriller readers of all ages will devour this book! 5 shiny gold stars!

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  • Brilliant

    This kept you on your toes from start to finish. It had everything in it to make an excellent read.

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