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House of Spines front

** My thanks to Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater for my copy of this wonderful book and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour ***

 

Description:

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman … A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

My Thoughts & Review:

For anyone not familiar with the superb writing of Michael J Malone I would thoroughly recommend acquainting yourself with one of his books as soon as possible, a skilled author with the ability to make readers shiver and feel the coldness that flows from the pages of his books.

With writing that is almost poetic in nature, this is beautifully written book that keeps readers guessing throughout.

Ran McGhie is an interesting character that I could not help but feel for him.  His life has been far from easy or straightforward and the way that Malone captures the subtle nuances of Ran are spectacularly spellbinding.  As Ran’s life begins to take on some major changes, Malone cleverly but subtly charts the slow descent into something not being right (I won’t call it madness, that seems to abrasive a word to use, but at the same time perhaps this character does become a little “off kilter” and lean towards a form of madness….I’ll let you decide).  Inheriting a huge house in a wealthy part of town would probably be a dream come true for most people, and here Ran is no different.  Initially he is awed by the library and the books that his great uncle has bestowed upon him, but soon he feels a haunting presence and begins to question what happens around him.
I am loathe to say more about the plot, I hate spoilers and think that readers experience the full impact of the plot on their own.

This has all the hallmarks of a great read, it’s creepy and leaves the reader questioning whether that was just a shadow they caught out of the corner of their eye…but it also makes you feel a little uncomfortable as you slowly follow Ran into the darkness of uncertainty.  With the mental health issues that the protagonist suffers being incorporated into the plot, it becomes almost impossible to be certain whether Ran is suffering from delusions linked to his condition or whether these events are actually happening.
On top of all this, the descriptions of Newton Hall are utterly spectacular and I think that Malone has really outdone himself here.  I could feel the looming menace that lurked within the house, I was aware of a feeling of claustrophobia while Ran was in the house, although there was splendour and beauty it was also a place of unknown danger and mystery.

There’s a feeling of safety with a book published by Orenda Books, each book has made an impression on Karen Sullivan and in turn she and her team have lavished love and attention on each page of a manuscript  before delivering a book to readers that will wow and delight.  When I initially saw this book being dubbed a “modern day horror story with a twist” I was a little hesitant, I don’t read many horror stories, they just don’t do anything for me.  But I had faith in the publisher and the friends who recommended this book to me and I was not disappointed.

You can buy a copy of “House of Spines” via:

Amazon
Wordery
Orenda eBookstore

 

Follow the blog tour:

House of Spines blog poster 2017orenda-header

 

 

 

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“Some secrets should never be kept…

A Suitable Lie AW.indd

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 like he is her own. When Andy ends up in the hospital on his wedding night, he receives his first clue that Anna is not all that she seems.  Desperate for that happy-ever-after, he ignores it. A dangerous mistake that could cost him everything.  A brave, deeply moving, page-turning psychological thriller,  A Suitable Lie marks a stunning departure for one of Scotland’s finest crime writers, exploring the lengths people will go to hide their deepest secrets, even if it kills them…”

You can buy a copy of A Suitable Lie here.

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on Michael Malone’s A Suitable Lie blog tour.  Michael has written a great guest post on writers and how they write, if like me you appreciate his sense of humour you will love the commentary.

How do you write? Any weird habits?  A favourite position (ooo, er missus)? Do you need complete silence, or do you rock out to Black Sabbath? Or can’t you even think about it until you have 3 coffees, melba toast and a wee slice of smoked salmon?

Truman Capote, who arguably wrote the best true crime “novel” ever, couldn’t write unless he was lying down, in bed or on a couch with a cigarette and a coffee. As the day progressed he moved from coffee to mint tea to martinis. As he described it, he had to be puffing and sipping.

Hemingway used to write 500 words every morning, to avoid the heat. Living in Scotland, I SO don’t have that problem.  He is quoted as saying he wrote one page of masterpiece to ninety-one pages of shit and that he aimed to put the shit in the wastebasket. I’m thinking the toilet would have been preferable.

Nabokov wrote his novels on index cards – they would then be paper-clipped together and stored in wee boxes. In the Paris Review he said he liked lined Bristol cards and well-sharpened, not too hard, pencils capped with erasers.

Thomas Clayton Wolfe, the early 20th century novelist was so tall he used to write leaning over a refrigerator.

Ben Franklin liked to write in the bath. (I’ll bet he was very careful. Soggy paper?)

Voltaire used to place his parchment on the back of his naked lover.

John Cheever only had one suit, so he would go to his writing space, hang his suit up and write in his boxers.

My writing space? When I moved in to my current home about eight years ago, one of the attractions was the floored and lined loft space. I imagined it with bookcases, a wing-backed chair and a corner desk where I would write until my little heart was content.

I made all that happen, but then I also filled it with all kinds of stuff – empty suitcases, Christmas decorations, old clapped out techie junk, skiing equipment and an assortment of other bric-a-brac. So much so that the space is an eyesore – and I write at my dining room table.

As you can see from the esteemed writers above, there is no perfect space. What matters is that you show up, just like it’s work and put the time in.

As for my writing space? One of these days I’ll reclaim that loft. I will. Honest.

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour for some brilliant posts by Michael as well as more about #ASuitableLie

suitable-lie-blog-tour-poster

About The Author:

bobmcd13

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize 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; Beyond the Rage. 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.

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