Archives for posts with tag: John Dolan

Hi all:

As you know on Fridays I bring you new books. This one I’d had on my list to share for a while, but I was determined to read it and include the review in the post too. And finally, its turn has come. Today I share a fascinating book:

Chaos is come again by John Dolan and Fiona Quinn. My digital version has a different cover but...

Chaos is come again by John Dolan and Fiona Quinn. My digital version has a different cover but…

“Excellent wretch! Perdition catch my soul But I do love thee! And when I love thee not Chaos is come again.” Sean hears voices in his head. Travis snorts cocaine. Teagan thinks she’s the next Lady Gaga. Avery has the boss from Hell, and a mother with dementia. And Goose wants to catch a serial killer. ‘Chaos Is Come Again’ is a psychological suspense, a mystery and a love story, loaded with irreverent humour and viewed through the lens of obsession. WARNING: Contains references to Judas Iscariot, a dwarf, and a performing monkey.

I think the description will probably give you a fair idea of what’s to come, but here is my take on the matter:

The publishing business, murders and madness

I have read and love the three books (so far) in the series Time, Blood and Karma by John Dolan. I know Fiona Quinn from her fantastic blog (I recommend it to anybody interested in writing thrillers. I had the pleasure of being one of her guests). And I was very intrigued by their collaboration. If any more encouragement were needed, the reviews were great too.

I had read interviews about the process involved in writing the novel and I wondered how it would have worked in reality, as it sounded fairly complicated.

Given all that I had been looking forward with trepidation to reading the novel and it did not disappoint.

The novel is seamless. I could not pick up parts that I fell were more likely to have been written by either author (I might have my theories, but nothing stood out), and once I got into the story that was no longer important.

The novel has two main protagonists: Sean, a young Englishman, a barista diagnosed with schizophrenia and with a violent incident in his past that weights heavy in his mind (although we’re never given any details), and Avery, an American woman, a literary agent burdened with a mother suffering from dementia, and whose difficulties provide at times light entertainment and at others add poignancy to the proceedings.

The two storylines: life in the literary world, a woman’s point of view, friends and chocolate cakes; and London’s gritty life, anxiety and self-doubt, together with a writer with a penchant for scandal (some would say blasphemous), an aspiring poet/singer and girlfriend with no evident redeeming qualities, and a mysterious serial killer, create as many plot threads as any eager reader would wish for (possibly even more).

Social media (Twitter in particular) helps bring the two protagonists together and reels us into a thriller/romance, with a disquietingly open ending.

It’s dynamic, flows well although the rhythm varies according to whose point of view we’re seeing the story from, and with its mixture of characters and likable central duo it’s difficult not to find somebody to root for.

This is a book for readers who like to explore outside established genres and don’t mind open endings. I’m not sure die-hard thriller fans would approve but writers will have a chuckle. I did.

Here is where you can get it:

Paperback:   http://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Come-Again-John-Dolan/dp/0957325665/

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Come-Again-John-Dolan-ebook/dp/B00OSP0AGW/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Chaos-Come-Again-John-Dolan-ebook/dp/B00OSP0AGW/

Thanks to John and Fiona for their book, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know the drill, if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment, and above all, read and review!

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Today I bring you another review. A few months ago I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the first book in the ‘Time, Karma and Blood Series’ by John Dolan, ‘Everyone Burns’. And I could not pass the opportunity to read and comment the second one.  I leave you my five stars review, a link to the book in e-format and paperback and a link to my review of the previous book, just in case you missed it.

Hungry Ghosts, 'Time, Blood and Karma' Book 2 by John Dolan

Hungry Ghosts, ‘Time, Blood and Karma’ Book 2 by John Dolan

Hungry Ghosts (Time, Karma and Blood Series Book 2) by John Dolan. Family secrets, family feuds, betrayals and ghosts.

‘The spirits of the dead are all around us, but it is we, the living, that are the true hungry ghosts.’ I could not agree more with the reflections of David Braddock, the detective-cum-philosopher and therapist who is the protagonist of Hungry Ghosts, the second book in the ‘Time, Karma and Blood Series’ by John Dolan. I read the first book in the series Everyone Burns and when I reviewed it I mentioned that I thought this would be a five star series but the first book left me wanting more and with too many questions pending. Be reassured, Hungry Ghosts delivers on all the promises of the first and more, and although, of course this being a series everything could not be resolved, the novel answers many of the questions, whilst opening new avenues for inquiry and intriguing plots.

‘Sometimes I come across as superficial. Of this I am aware. However, you may be confident that inside my head I am forever plumbing new shallows, finding novel ways to express the obvious, reheating old jokes.’

David Braddock, one of the most peculiar detectives I’ve met in fiction (and I am aware all famous detectives have quirks and characteristics that make them memorable) is back with a vengeance. Or rather, he is the intended victim of a revenge attempt. Vending the rules, although it appears to be the standard MO in Thailand, does not come without consequences even there. People die, lives are destroyed, and strange alliances are made and broken. Not your standard day at the office.

If Braddock still retains many of the characteristics we’ve come to expect of most males detectives (he has an array of love interests, two of them married, one related to him by first marriage…), we get to see more of his soft/emotional side. His strange relationship with his first wife (now dead), his daughter (away in England), his housekeeper (not his maid, as he insists throughout the whole book. She is clearly much more than a housekeeper, as signaled by the fact that they have never had sex), his mother-in-law, and crucially, his father. Family secrets abound, not only those of the Braddock family, but also of other families. Fathers and sons with troubled relationships are mirrored on both sides of the law (although the lines are very fine and there is no black and white here, rather different shades of grey), and even Braddock’s Zen master, the Old Monk, has sons who are on opposite sides of the law.

The author shows his talent by using a variety of points of view throughout the novel that allow us to understand better the events and the motivations behind the actions of the characters. We share in the murderer’s frame of mind, the Chief of Police of Samui and his wife (and Braddock’s lover), the detective’s sister in law, the gangsters… We might side with Braddock but we are privy to the thoughts and feelings of others and are a step ahead. That is why the twist at the end is even more effective. We should have seen it coming but we were too taken by the action and the story, and rooting for the flawed hero to realise that…

John Dolan treads carefully and manages to recap enough information to allow somebody who has not read the first novel to enjoy and make sense of this one, whilst at the same time not boring somebody who has recently read ‘Everyone Burns’, and just nudging their memory (especially with the unfamiliar names) along.

David Braddock is fast becoming one of my favourite detectives. Although an amateur at both detective work and psychology (or therapeutic interventions), he has a natural flair for both. I couldn’t help but think that he might make an interesting team with Mary, the psychiatrist who gets involved in all sorts of crimes in my stories. It’s a thought.

Hungry Ghosts has gang-warfare, police corruption, revenge, murders and violence, secrets and revelations, honey traps and meddling employees, witty repartees and reflections (‘I need to simplify my life so far as women are concerned. Maybe I should get castrated and have done with it.’), ghosts and padrinos (Thai style). I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next and what will come of the sudden epiphany Braddock experiences in this book. As he observes: ‘We are the artisans of avoidance, the fabricators of falsehoods. We sell ourselves snake-oil and we call it medicine.’ I’m sure there will be more revelations to come and I suspect the author might take us in unsuspected directions. I am getting a ticket for the next trip. Are you?

Links:

e-version:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ENZAURQ/

Paperback:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0957325622/

Here I leave you a link to my previous post about ‘Everyone Burns’.

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/review-everyone-burns-time-blood-and-karma-book-one-by-john-dolan-counselling-politics-and-detection-in-thailand/

Thanks for reading, and you know the drill, if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment, and don’t forget to CLICK!

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