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In the Absence of Miracles

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  37 ratings  ·  27 reviews
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 the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood. For in a box, in the ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Expected publication: March 1st 2020 by Orenda Books
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4.32  · 
Rating details
 ·  37 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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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 very first
Liz Barnsley
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent and very emotional. Full review to follow for the tour.
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 author has a gift for writ
Laura Rash
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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 s
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  ·  review of another edition
Emotional. Brave. Dark. Raw. Utterly beautiful.
Mary Picken
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 of dysfunct
Aug 28, 2019 added it
Review to follow on the blog tour in September
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 highlig
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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 reall
Lorna Docherty is in a nursing home, having suffered a stroke. Her son John faces the care bill, and is in the unfortunate position of having to sell up the family home in order to fund her care. But something isn’t right, and the last time he saw his mother was on the anniversary of his dads death.

On exploring the attic during the clear-out, John discovers two small boxes, tied with string. One contains a photo of his dad holding a baby. In the other is a little boy’s shoe – covered in grass st
Sep 09, 2019 added it
Michael J. Malone is a real-life super-hero. Bye-bye Spiderman, Batman, and other clichés. It takes a lot more than a Lycra outfit to fight the big fights. Mr. Malone never shies away from a battle, and In the Absence of Miracles tackles heavy matters with tactful and efficient hands.

When his mother suffers from a stroke and moves into a nursing home, John must handle the changes, including the selling of the family house. There is no beating around the bush here. Right from the beginning, I fel
Jacob Collins
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dark family secrets and the theme of betrayal, haunt Michael J Malone’s latest thriller, In the Absence of Miracles. This is a heart-wrenching tale, and there is such emotional depth to Michael’s writing. I was pulled in by the characters straight away. I wanted to unravel the secrets that were hiding in their past. I also wanted the answers to many questions I had about the characters themselves.

John Docherty’s elderly mother has recently suffered a massive stroke. He knows that he will need to
Ever since I first read A Suitable Lie I have been aware of the way in which Michael J Malone is capable of manipulating his readers. The emotional depth that his stories can convey and the almost lyrical quality of his writing. He is adept at taking hard subjects and making them accessible, never once glamourising or sensationalising the topic, but always leaving you feeling kind of spent, almost raw, after reading.

This is most definitely how I would describe the feeling I got after reading In
Karen Cole
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Orenda Books consistently publish books with fabulous front covers but In The Absence Of Miracles (designed by the hugely talented Mark Swan at kid-ethic) is especially stunning. Now, the saying goes that you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but here you can do exactly that because the gorgeous exterior houses a novel which is one of the most beautifully written and astutely empathetic books I've ever had the privilege to read.
At the start, John Docherty is in a familiar position for many mid
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This deals with the raw and emotive subject of childhood abuse and I found it to be a tightly written and dark read. As John realises that he had an older brother and delves into what may have happened to him, layers and layers of secrecy and repressed memories are pealed back. This is a subtle exploration of the lasting effects of past events on a family. I cannot say more without spoiling the story but suffice to say, this is a story which shocks the reader even when they think they know where ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Michael Malone is one of those authors who always manages to tug on your heartstrings whilst delivering something that is shocking and real. This novel is my favourite so far.

John is a teacher, successful at his job but less successful in his private life. He adores his partner but struggles to make that final commitment. He is also aware that he drinks too much. But his life is turned upside down with his discovery in his family home which he is preparing to sell to pay for his mother’s care. T
Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader

This is a dark and powerful story and one that I enjoyed reading from start to finish.

You watch John in his self-destructive behaviour, you find out more about his family, and everything just weaves into a tragic form of truth.

Really, such a great story, and one that focuses on an important message, the predators aren’t always the ones that we assume, and money often speaks louder than words to a lot of people who do things that seem monstrous.

Thank you to
Sally Boocock
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A moving yet decidedly chilling psychological thriller. A domestic noir at it's very best. Beautifully written . When John Docherty mother is taken into full time care he has to empty the family home which reveals he had a brother but cannot remember him. It opens up his life to whole lot of heartbreak and secrets. Extremely moving yet shocking at the same time. Well worth a read.
Madeleine Black
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Michael J Malone has this extraordinary talent to write about difficult subjects in such a beautiful way. He is not afraid to tackle sensitive subjects that are usually kept quiet. A book that resonated with me on many levels and one I won't forget
Sep 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Full review coming tomorrow for my stop on the blog tour!
I knew as soon as I turned the last page of this book, that I would struggle to write a review! ‘In the Absence of Miracles’ has left my emotions shredded and my mind unsettled, in a good way. Michael J Malone has written a story that is raw, gripping, shocking and incredibly powerful. What starts out as a family mystery turns into something that plunges readers into the darkest of subjects and on a journey that is inescapable.

John Docherty discovers a family secret as he cleans out his mother’s
Karen Huxtable
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Sep 10, 2019
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Aug 26, 2019
lesley banks
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Sep 04, 2019
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