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In the Absence of Miracles

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  94 ratings  ·  77 reviews

A young man discovers a family secret that turns his world upside down in this dark, emotive, shocking psychological thriller by number-one bestselling author Michael J. Malone

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 t

Kindle Edition, 300 pages
Published July 19th 2019 by ORENDA BOOKS
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Average rating 4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  94 ratings  ·  77 reviews

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Miriam Smith
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: orenda, tbc
Michael Malone is a prize winning poet and author from Scotland, who writes beautifully from the heart and who now has a huge following in the literary world. Having previously read his powerful psychological thriller “A Suitable Lie” and his gothic contemporary novel “House of Spines” and enjoying both immensely, I was very much looking forward to reading and enjoying his latest standalone novel “In the Absence of Miracles”.
This shocking and once again powerful thriller covers a storyline
Michelle Ryles
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: galleys-read
Michael J Malone has stolen my words; I was left utterly speechless after reading In the Absence of Miracles and know that this is a book I will remember (and recommend) for a long time to come. It's difficult to put my thoughts in order to write a review that will even begin to do justice to how good this book is, but here goes.

I know from reading the magnificent A Suitable Lie that Michael J Malone knows how to shock and surprise and boy, did he make my jaw drop this time! From the
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
John is your everyday type of bloke. He seems to have some commitment issues and even though he knows he loves his girlfriend, something is holding him back from giving her his all. To be fair he does have his hands full with his work and visiting his mother who has ended up in a home after a stroke.

The box that he finds in the attic leads him into making some shocking discoveries and boy do I mean shocking. What follows then, is quite a harrowing and powerful read.

The au
Liz Barnsley
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent and very emotional. Full review to follow for the tour.
The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...

John Docherty’s mother, Lorna has recently suffered a massive stroke. Due to the stroke, she no longer has the use of one of her hands and she has been left unable to speak properly. After the death of her husband years before she had been living by herself but the stroke means that she is no longer capable of looking after herself, that she now needs round the clock care and that she can no longer stay at her ho
Laura Rash
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite the dark and twisted family tale that uncovers secrets that are truly shocking! There’s an undertone of such sadness in the uncovering of child abuse that just breaks your heart.
Kelly Van Damme
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Man oh man, what a tale! First of all, a bazillion thanks to Karen Sullivan from Orenda Books for my gifted proof copy, and to Michael J. Malone for writing it. I’ve been going over it in my head for days now and I’m still not any closer to forming coherent thoughts, so I’ve given up and I’m just going to spew all my thoughts and feelings as they are, y’all will just have to deal with it! Alternatively, save yourself the trouble and just go buy it, it’s available in eBook format as of today (buy ...more
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Malone is an author who is not afraid to tackle the tough topics, the ones that are still somewhat of a taboo and not talked about enough, the ones that are often hard to read and make you feel uncomfortable. If you’ve read A Suitable Lie, then you know this. So, how much further could Michael Malone push that discomfort limit, you wonder? Well, quite a bit, as it turns out.

John Docherty seems like your everyday guy, dealing with everyday issues. His mother has just been move
Amy Bruno
Well, this is going to be one tough review to write. Author Michael Malone has had me on an emotional roller coaster for the past few days with this incredible book and I'm still thinking about it.

The book starts off with John's mother having had a stroke and living in a care center to receive help. When John realizes that he won't be able to support her and that she probably won't be coming home he decides to clean out the house to sell it. When he comes across a family photograph he hadn't se
Joanne Robertson
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh my word, this book affected me so much more than I expected it to! I’ve loved the standalone books from Michael J Malone that I’ve read previously but this one really did tug at my heartstrings as he delivered a beautifully crafted narrative with an traumatic and affecting family mystery at its centre.

John Docherty has had to admit his mother into a care home after she suffers a major stroke at a relatively young age. His father died five years ago and so to raise money to pay for
The Book Review Café
There are books that are shocking and twisted, and then there’s In The Absence Of Miracles by Michael Malone! Shocking, doesn’t even come close to describing this remarkable book. This isn’t a book I feel fits into one particular genre, it’s part domestic noir, suspense, and crime thriller all rolled into one to create one of the most compelling, powerful and emotive reads I’ve had the pleasure to come across in the last few years. This book reminds me of one of the author’s earlier books A Suit ...more
Louise Beech
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Emotional. Brave. Dark. Raw. Utterly beautiful.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thriller set around GLASGOW .. a well rounded and gripping read

In this novel once again Michael J Malone demonstrates the profound ripple effect of secrets in the family, how they permeate the conscious make-up of family members at very deep levels and through into succeeding generations. He is adept at choosing a slant that is often just a little different and he is keen to show that v
Mary Picken
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Michael J Malone is one of those writers whose work is seriously under-estimated by some. I suspect it’s because all his recent books have been stand-alones that the cumulative impact of his work isn’t better known. But believe me, it should be.

Malone isn’t an easy writer to categorise; already that makes him more interesting. In the Absence of Miracles is a domestic noir, but it’s also so much more than that. It’s a book that quietly and sensitively peels back the layers of a series
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I thought that Michael J Malone couldn't put anymore heart and soul into his work, he creates this astonishing creation that spun my head full 360 degrees. Within the first few chapters, I knew that i'd stepped off the cliff of sunshine and rainbows - I was now plummeting into a poetically articulated, disturbing depth that has made me see the world completely differently, more with a bout of sadness than rose tinted glasses. Absolute literary perfection that left me catatonic within a vort ...more
Rachel Hall
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unflinchingly honest, emotive and ultimately edifying dark domestic noir of family secrets.

When a massive stroke before her sixtieth birthday puts paid to Lorna Docherty ever living independently again, her son, John, is hit by the double whammy of his mother looking a shadow of her former self and needing to sell the family home in order to finance her care. With decidedly mixed memories of a dysfunctional family life characterised mainly by his detective father’s ominous silences and anger an
Alex (PaperbackPiano)
It’s difficult to know where to start with reviewing this one. I suppose the first thing to say is that it is DARK. This book certainly won’t be for everyone. But it is marvellous in that it shines a light on a subject which is not often spoken about, so for that I applaud the author.

I will be totally honest: I got off to a rocky start with this one. It was very much a book of two halves for me. The book begins with very little introduction, throwing us into the lives of these charac
Karen Peterman
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a book! Impossible to categorise - both moving and exciting in equal measure I loved this book from start to finish. John is a teacher struggle with day to day life and faced with selling the family home to fund his mother’s care home following a stroke.

He makes a start in the attic where he finds a blood stained child’s shoe and the birth certificate of an older brother that he never knew existed and does not remember at all. This is the start of John’s journey to learn what happened to T
Mairead Hearne (
‘And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer.
And to violence…’

In the Absence of Miracles is the latest novel from prize-winning poet and author, Michael J Malone. Due for publication on September 19th with Orenda Books, it is described as ‘shocking, chilling and heartbreakingly emotive…domestic noir at its most powerful. A sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.’

Michael J Malone doesn’t shy away from highlighting a very
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
John Docherty is a school-teacher. He’s just been made head of his department, and he’s struggling to commit to his long-time (extremely patient) girlfriend Angela. But his mother’s recently suffered a massive stroke and is currently in a care facility and she’s going to have to remain there as she’s unable to continue living on her own. However, in order to fund this, the house she’s lived in for most of her married life will have to be sold. Clearing out the house and taking care of the sale w ...more
Lel Budge
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: anne-cater
John is visiting his mum in a care home, she’s had a major stroke and is no longer independent. I felt sorry for her at this point………!

Due to costs, he is going to sell her home to pay for her continuing care, so visits his old home to start clearing it ready for sale….while in the loft he finds a picture of himself with a younger child….but has no memory of it…..

When his younger brother, Chris arrives he shows him the picture and they realise, John is the younger child, s
Melanie’s reads
If I had known this book covered child abuse I would not have read it and I would have missed out on this heartbreaking, eloquently written, emotive book. What a crime that would have been.

I followed John’s journey for the truth and witnessed his downward spiral and self destruction. Too much alcohol, losing focus on work and relationships.

It all starts with the harsh reality of his mother having a stroke and having to sell the family home to pay for her care. Clearing ou
Between The Pages Book Club (Gemma M)
How do I even begin to describe this story? It has a gorgeous, eye catching cover to begin with. It is beautifully and brilliantly written. I found it quite an emotional read in parts alongside some chilling and thrilling bits. I was beside John the whole way through this…
John with his brothers help turns into detective mode in search of answers after what he has found in a box, in his mother loft… Prepare for a bumpy ride, it’s not going to be easy. Is anyone going to speak out about what
Peter Best
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a good solid read this had turned out to be. Looking back, I think I knew I was going to enjoy this book after the first few pages just because of the author’s; in my opinion excellent style of writing. All in all, very good, just like the story itself even though it may have been just that little too slow for the first twenty-five percent or so of the book. However, whatever you do, do not let this put you off, because once you get past this point the story kicks off and then you will then ...more
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very dark, harrowing and extremely intense. It tackles head on a really dark topic , which I won't disclose as it would give away half of the book, and even though it's really tough to read about it, it's done with a fair amount of sensitivity. This is not a feel-good book so if you're looking for some light reading, stay away from it. But I will still recommend it because it's very well written, keeps a decent pace and despite all the darkness, there's light at the end of the tunnel.
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
An addictive easy read, short chapters leaving you wanting to read and find out more. Lots of content which becomes quite harrowing as the story progresses. Will def look at another book by this author.
Sasa aka Sasko
Oct 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Emotional and twisted this story felt so real that in
places it was hard to read it.If you want
fleshed-out characters and very sad but beautifully
written story look no further
The Masked Reader
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 17/18
A true domestic noir about what it means to keep your secrets closeted and in time having them exposed right in the open, where you can run nowhere for cover.

I I was literally blown away as I was reading through this...

A concept like this is not read a lot by me but this one just grabbed my eye and I couldn't put it down afterwards.


I'm literally shocked out of my core, and in such a good way too.

The writing, it flowed so
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
John Docherty is a middle-aged schoolteacher who appears to have the weight of the world on his shoulders.
His mother has recently suffered a devastating stroke, and whilst she is a relatively young woman, it’s clear that she will no longer be able to live at home.

John has the job of sorting through her house, ready to sell it, to fund her long-term care. John’s younger brother Chris is no support, having moved overseas long ago and rarely returned for visits; he didn’t even ret
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
John Docherty’s mother has just suffered a stroke and is facing a future where she will never be able to live independently again. In order to care for his mother, John is forced to sell his childhood home. While clearing out boxes from his family home he stumbles upon a box containing a photograph of him and his brother, except something is off about this photo. Instead of being the older sibling in the picture, John realizes that he is the younger of the two boys, which means that he has an ol ...more
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