Saturday 22 April 2017

Book review : Blame - Paul Read

When Lucas loses his father to a suspected heart attack, he expects to be wracked with grief. However, having been estranged for over a decade, and having gone through his own private hell, he doesn't feel anything much, except for a confusing mix of emotions that he can't (or doesn't want to) understand or deal with. Instead, he hops on a plane to New York with the lovely Mariana, but a dark secret threatens to put a spanner in the works and destroy the burgeoning relationship before it has even begun. As Shakespeare said, the truth will out and when the death is deemed suspicious, Lucas has to try to understand who may have wanted to harm his father. Looking for clues, he uncovers his childhood journal that retraces the traumatic family dramas and his interpretation of events that led to his rift with his father, forcing him (and the reader) to reassess his view not only of his father but also himself.

The book has an unusual structure, starting with a prologue ten years in the future which throws out lots of questions to pique the reader's interest. The rest of the book is a journey of discovery, revealing who Lucas is and how he came to be the man he is today. He hasn't had an easy life and while it is easy to empathise with him, I didn't find him particularly likeable, although he is wholly believable. The clumsy, innocent, childish diary entries of his 11-year-old self add a touch of lightness that contrast with the gloomy, angry and hate-filled young man that he has become. As Lucas unlocks the secrets of his past and the family dramas that were hiding behind the happy public exterior, he has to accept that he is not as different as he would like to think from the man he loves to hate. 

The novel is fast-paced and gripping and I couldn't wait to find out what deep dark secrets were lurking in Lucas's diary entries and his subconscious. It's an interesting look at how our adult personas are shaped by events from our past and, despite the poignant subject matter, there are moments of humour to lighten the tone.

The author, Paul Read, has worked as an Art, English and supply teacher at several inner-city schools in both England and Italy. A few years ago, Paul was involved in a hit-and run incident which put him in a wheelchair for several months, which is where he wrote the first draft of his debut novel, The Art Teacher, which I have also reviewed. (Click through to read that review.)

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (15 April 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785079212
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785079214
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 2.7 x 13.1 cm

The Blame blog tour is stopping off at Madhouse Family Reviews today - make sure you call in on the other bloggers taking part !

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