Michael J. Malone: In the Absence of Miracles Saturday, Jan 4 2020 

Michael J. Malone’s haunting thriller, In the Absence of Miracles, has the distinction of garnering Auntie M’s first “Highly Recommended” rating of the New Year, thanks to @orendabooks.

The novel brings John Doherty to the page, a teacher whose mother is recovering from a massive stroke that will leave her in a facility. With his job and relationships in turmoil, John’s younger brother arrives to help with the selling of the family home.

It’s while John roots through stored items in the attic that he comes across a photo of himself as a toddler being held by an older brother he never knew existed. Setting out to find the truth behind that photo, along with other scarce evidence he uncovers, John plays detective-of-sorts, investigating the knowledge both of his parents hid from their other two sons, even while he discounts memories he might have buried.

John’s younger brother finally comes on board to help in the search once it becomes clear there was indeed an older brother neither boy knew about. But things continue to twist as the plot becomes as complicated as John himself.

Are there other secrets to uncover? What about the memories John can’t recall? Whose truth and memories are the right ones? How did growing up in this particular home affect these three young men and their choices?

Ian Rankin calls this novel “Vivid, visceral and compulsive” with good reason. Readers may be shocked by one particular twist, but Malone manages to capably illustrate what happens in a family where secrets are kept and hidden, and the long-term repercussions of growing up in such a home.

There’s heartbreak here, but also redemption for some characters. Malone has a gift for perceiving facets of human nature as he combines the inexplicable with a degree of sensitivity that brings a simple beauty out of tragedy. Not to be missed.

Happy New Year: My Highly Recommended of 2019 Wednesday, Jan 1 2020 

Happy New year to all the readers of the Auntie M Writes Crime blog! This year Auntie M is stepping out from behind the personality of Auntie M to myself, Marni Graff, writer and mystery author of two series. I wish you all a healthy and happy 2020!

Over the past year, it has been my distinct honor to review 148 books on the blog. This doesn’t include the occasional guest I give a slot to, because the writing community is one of the most generous and giving I’ve been a part of, and it is my pleasure to share in that.

It’s also the time of year when I want to thank my followers of the blog, and hope you will continue reading into 2020.

I read about 3 books a week in all kinds of places and always carry a book with me wherever I go. This year there were only 3 books I didn’t review as they were not for me–hey, it happens.

But of those 148 I’ve shared, 37 of them received my “Highly Recommended” rating. That’s about a quarter of the many books to receive HR, so you can see that a book knocks my socks off to receive that rating.

So here they are, in the order they were reviewed. Clumps of HRs reflect publishing cycles and my time to read, nothing more. If an author or title strikes your fancy and you missed the original review, all reviews are archived by month:

Jan: Louisa Luna/Two Girls Down
Fiona Barton/The Suspect
Christian White/The Nowhere Child

Feb: CJ Tudor/The Hiding Place
Ausma Zehanat Khan/Deadly Divide
Peter Robinson/Careless Love

Mar: James Oswald/No Time To Cry

Apr: Lexie Elliot/The Missing Years

May: Nicola Upson/Stanley and Elsie
Elly Griffiths/The Stone Circle
Mandy Morton/Beyond the Gravy
Roz Watkins/The Devil’s Dice & Dead Man’s Daughter
Susan Hill/The Comforts of Home
Aline Templeton/Carrion Comfort
Sophie Hannah/The Mystery of 3 Quarters

June: Ashley Dyer/The Cutting Room

July: Natalie Daniels/Too Close

Aug: Anthony Horowitz/The Sentence is Death
Jane Casey/Cruel Acts
Alex Michaelides/The Silent Patient
Louise Penny/A Better Man
Kate Rhodes/Fatal Harmony & Ruin Beach

Sept: Ann Cleeves/The Long Call
James Oswald/Nothing to Hide

Oct: Nicola Upson/Sorry for the Dead
Laura McHugh/The Wolf Wants In
Kate Atkinson/Big Sky

Nov: GR Halliday/From the Shadows
Paula Munier/Blind Search
Alex North/The Whisper Man

Dec: Stuart MacBride/All That’s Dead
Stuart Neville/So Say the Fallen & Those We Left Behind
Vanda Simon/The Ringmaster

Now get reading!

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The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

Being Author

An online writing community

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews