A Song of Isolation by Michael J Malone
|A Song of Isolation by Michael J Malone|
|Reviewer: Lesley Mason|
|Summary: Too many, too early clues turn what could have been a very dark thriller into something sadly less. May be saved by the issues it addresses.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 300||Date: September 2020|
|Publisher: Orenda Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Film star Amelie Hart throws up a career that is only beginning to hit the heights to retire to the highlands with an ordinary guy…an accountant of all things, though to his credit he would rather be working in forestry. They have found a hideaway on a small Scottish estate, but things are starting to feel wrong between them.
Five years previously Amelie narrowly escaped a savage home invasion. One of my problems with this book is that I am not clear as to how much of this hit the press at the time or later…surely it would have been a 'massive' storm even in those relatively early days of social media being the bane of everyone's life. For that to sink largely below the radar, as it seems to have done, just doesn't work with everything else.
Set that aside…Amelie and Dave have been living in something like domestic bliss. She's now coming across as ambivalent and he feels the need to indulge in the most massive of nudges…one way or the other. Before he can take out his little black box however, there is a loud authoritative knock at the door – and Dave finds himself facing a charge of having sexually abused a neighbour's child.
A Song of Isolation is about what happens next…to people who find themselves isolated in our hyper-connected world. The 'people' being Amelie and Dave, but also his parents, and the child at the centre of the story and her family. There are a number of serious social issues explored in the book, child abuse being only one of them, but unfortunately, it signals the truth of what happened far too early for there to be any real tension.
There are murderous people around and deaths and threats, and attempts to hide away from the media, but so much of it simply didn't ring true for this reader. The criminals and the media weren't quite nasty enough to be believable. There is insufficient jeopardy for anyone involved for this to be completely engaging, and we get to see too much of everything as it happens for there to much of a mystery. Getting to see the whole story from all the angles, undermines what could have been a much stronger story if told from the inside, rather than the outside. As it is, it manages to make a potentially gut-wrenching plot not quite plausible and, worse, a little bit bland.
The screen adaptation might work better, as a novel it barely hits the mark.
Malone's previous offering In The Absence of Miracles was much stronger.
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