Sunday, 22 April 2018

Book review : The Man On The Middle Floor - Elizabeth S Moore


Nick, Karen and Tam live totally separate lives in an unremarkable three-apartment house in the suburbs of London. None of them are cast in a very positive light. Tam is spiralling into a never-ending cycle of drowning his sorrows in whisky and having meaningless sex after losing his beloved job as a policeman. Karen has sacrificed everything in life, including her marriage and children, in her constant search for recognition and glory as a doctor and researcher on autism. Nick is an anxious young man with Asperger's who needs routine and his own personal space to function. He soon becomes Karen's pet project and the neighbours' lives collide with spectacular and far-reaching consequences.

The book features two murders (or you could even say three, but only two are human) but it is not crime fiction in the traditional sense because the reader witnesses the killings and knows who the perpetrator is, so it is more a case of watching him get dragged deeper into trouble and waiting for him to get caught.

All three of the characters have skewed moral compasses and dubious values, but they have all also been dealt a pretty bad hand in life which didn't help them get off to a good start and find the right balance. They do start making headway on their journeys to a better place and healthier self-awareness, but events quickly spiral out of control until there can be no happy ending.

Although she can be condemned for neglecting her children and husband, Karen is right to wonder about how society can best understand and help to meet the needs of people with autism. Her well-meaning attempts are catastrophically off-the-mark though and she makes things even worse - this is quite possibly supposed to be a comment on how society at large deals with the issue. Nick did seem to be too much of a classic text-book case to be wholly realistic, although I admit that I am no expert, and the extra layer of autism in Karen's own son seemed superfluous and unrealistic - however blinded she is by her job, I'm sure, as an expert in her field if not as a mother, she would have picked up on the signs, especially since, as a reader, I did way before the big reveal.

The basic plot is chillingly realistic though and throws up a lot of unanswerable questions about blame, guilt and responsibility. It's a gripping read that will be perfect for book clubs as I'm sure opinions on the different characters will be divided.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £8.99

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: RedDoor Publishing Ltd (12 April 2018)
  • ISBN-10: 1910453544
  • ISBN-13: 978-1910453544




Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

2 comments:

  1. I won this book on Twitter, and plan to read soon. Curious to see how the man with Asperger's is portrayed. The book sounds intriguing.

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  2. I am just reading this book now that I received from NetGalley and intend to review on my blog shortly. I am about 30% through the book and enjoying what I am reading.

    ReplyDelete

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