My dear bookish friends,
Another blogtour has passed me by and due to work and my studies I have fallen behind with my reviews a lot – apologies for the delay but here it comes now, my review of Before the Storm by Jack Byrne! Perhaps not something I would have immediately grabbed off the shelf if I saw it in a bookshop BUT I always preach it and am practicing it myself – try a new genre and you might be surprised, which I really was!
As always a big thank you the TheWriteReads for my ebook and spot on this tour (none of which influenced my review in any way).
Please keep on reading to find out more about this truly captivating read!
YOUTHFUL PROMISES SHAPE LETHAL OUTCOMES
Historian Vinny Connolly tries to escape the bitter memories of his childhood in a tough neighbourhood. But a secret from the past, involving a pocket watch, an old man’s death, and childhood friends, threatens to unravel his present. When one of those friends, Sammo, dies in mysterious circumstances, Vinny, his wife Helen, and his ex-partner Anne McCarthy race against time to uncover the truth. A hit and run incident, text messages, and a murdered pet, all warn Vinny away from the investigation. A series of letters hold the key to Sammo’s life, and the secret to unlock the mystery of his death. Facing unexpected obstacles and police opposition Anne tries to overcome an accidental death verdict. Set against the backdrop of a post-Brexit UK, this is a gripping tale of immigration, friendship, the power of secrets to shape our lives, and the value of resistance to authority.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up this book but I really enjoyed it! Before the Storm is set in Liverpool just after Brexit, but also jumps back to show the city in 1981, when the main character (Vince) was a kid on the streets.
It really starts off with a bang when a dead body is found. The case is a suspected overdose, and at the same time Helen is getting mysterious texts warning her to ‘stay away’ and is then run off the road. Drama! Lots of drama!
Vince is soon on the case. The dead man was Sammo, an old friend, and the messages are coming from another old ‘friend,’ Macca. Vince soon encounters Macca and you feel an instant dislike for the guy. You just instantly know he is bad news.
This is where we jump back to 1981 and see Vince, Sammo and Macca as street toughs. Macca is the leader and also a bully, and generally just a nasty piece of work. Sammo is good-hearted and Vince is your kind of middle of the road, just going with the flow type of guy.You can see he doesn’t really want to be bad, but he doesn’t stand up to Macca either. When we see Macca in the present day we understant that he is still just as dislikable as he was in the flashbacks to their youths.
I really found myself beginning to feel for Sammo as the book went along. As a reader you start wanting people to help him, side with him, and you start feeling a bit angry at the way he is is treated and the way his life spirals. The author does a great job showing just how tough life was back in the early 80s, and also how little the government did to help its citizens, even those who fought for the country.
The book is well-written throughout, it is very engaging and sucks you in from the start. However, I did stumble upon a few typos and either missing or misplaced commas, so I think a round of proofreading would have done the book a lot of good (it might be possible that as an editor and proofreader myself, but as always in my reviews I have to mention everything that struck me, the good and the bad (or slightly less good!)).
Despite the ofttimes heavy and harsh subject matter you don’t ever feel the book itself is heavy. It’s actually a very light, fast read, all in all, and I’m glad I picked it up for this tour! I think it would appeal to people who like crime novels, historical novels set not too far in the past, and readers of suspense novels in general.
For me I’d say it was a solid 4-star read!
Thank you all so much for reading, and do let me know if you’ll pick this up soon too!