Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job. The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went?
Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse. Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press witch hunt quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.
While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world.
Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives … in an instant.
Thrillers are often based around one basic premise; killer and the police seeking to bring them to justice! Michael J Malone though is no ordinary thriller writer; he produces novels that challenge the reader with quite difficult subjects, are deeply emotive, while still producing a story of exceptional intensity.
A Song Of Isolation is full of twists and turns, with lyrical prose that reflects the writers background as a poet. It reads with grace and left me as a reader deeply affected by the often-harrowing story within. I felt drawn into the lives of young man accused of child sexual assault, a child isolated as well as confused and a young actress fighting her own demons. Its strengths are numerous, but for me the reason it is so exceptional is the characterisation, the quality of both the story and the writing.
Michael J Malone takes us into the lives of all three of the main characters, deep into their thoughts, their hopes and fears and the brutal effect events have on all three of them. He draws a tale of how each end up isolated from each other and the world around them. Weaving each thread into a complex and emotional narrative which is centred around the theme of isolation. It is quite exceptional in how he does this, they flow like rivers apart, then in and out of each others orbit, unit they finally conclude in ending that left me feeling emotionally spent.
His handling of Damaris story is exceptional. Her confusion and anger are signs of the overwhelmingly negative experiences she suffers as a child leaving her isolated from those around her, even from her parents. Her confusion is almost palatable, as if you can reach into the page and touch her.
Then there is Dave, accused of child abuse and though he maintains his innocence is subjected to brutal violence in prison. The writer takes into a shattered mind and personality as he explores the way the character isolates himself even from family and his fellow prisoners, closing down emotionally to protect himself.
Finally there is Amelie who has been the victim of exploitation and is damaged from the cult of celebrity. She has isolated herself from that world, but what Michael J Malone does In A Song Of Isolation is show that she can run, but never hide from the demons that plague her. It’s a cutting and perceptive portrayal of celebrity and the damage it can do in the MeToo era.
He pulls this all together and ties the characters in a web of pain, betrayal, isolation and hope. Making this a novel of exceptional emotional depth, nothing I wouldn’t expect from this talented writer, but still he gets better with every book he writes.
I wish in this case that Amazon allowed you to give a book more than five stars!
But why not order it from your local Indie bookshop?
About the author
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 Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.