John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke and she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.
For in a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover.
For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash. And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence.
Shocking, chilling and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.
I read this fast, it is one of those books where the moment the inciting event occurs you simply can’t stop reading until you discover the resolution – the writing itself has a lot to do with it, beautifully immersive and insightfully compelling.
In The Absence Of Miracles tackles a very dark subject with sensitivity whilst still managing to be a page turner with hugely thought provoking elements that will keep you up at night. Domestic Noir has always had those deeply buried family secrets at the heart of the genre and this novel is a classic example of how to do it with emotional clarity, a depth of perception and ultimately a redemptive quality that speaks to you as a reader.
I thought it was Mr Malone’s best novel to date. Tackling the taboo realistically and with care, I’m on board for whatever comes next.