- Series: Maloney (Book 1)
- Paperback: 385 pages
- Publisher: Independently published (December 19, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1520189079
- ISBN-13: 978-1520189079
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
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The story of Paul Maloney, Private Eye in London - the gay son turned out by his family, living in the shadow of the sister who was kidnapped when he was only six, and desperately trying to recover from his in-the-closet relationship with the rich and powerful Dominic.
Dominic comes back into Paul's life when he hires him to do some research on an Egyptian high-tech company he's planning to buy. But nothing is as it seems, and violence starts to fly from the very start. Sadly, it touches Paul's life directly when he's first stabbed, than shot. But the worst was yet to come when someone he cares about, profoundly, someone he loves, is killed as a direct result of his investigations.
And all of it sits atop a terrible betrayal by Dominic.
This is a powerful, propulsive thriller that grabs you, on page one, and never lets you go. It's so well-written, the characters, the action, the settings, the emotions, that I was mesmerized by the sheer talent and skill of Ms. Brooke. It is such a pleasure to read gay-themed literature that's professionally edited, written as well as any best-seller, and deals with the gay issues as a sort of sidebar - it's not the plot, it's just what is.
I shall read as much of Ms. Brooke's writing as I can get my hands on. I strongly recommend that you do the same.
I confess I love novels written in the first person and present tense, but I also know it's quite difficult to write them well. But not, apparently, for Brooke. Her Maloney's Law is exceptionally well-written.
Paul Maloney, a 30-year-old gay private investigator in London, takes on a lucrative assignment. It's from Dominic Allen, the physically desirable and wealthy investor, with a wife and two children, who abruptly and coldly terminated his and Paul's torrid 11-month affair three years and four months ago.
Paul is precise like that with dates and times. His idiosyncrasy also makes it easy for readers to know where they are in the story, especially in the scenes set in the past. That's important in this novel. Paul suffered a horrifying game-changer when he was six, and he brought another one down upon himself when he was 19 and should've known better.
But what begins for Paul as the possible revival of an affair with the man he's still in love with soon becomes a far more sinister matter.
In that regard, I congratulate Anne Brooke for boldly creating a devastating development at the halfway mark in her novel.
Nor does Brooke wish to leave us with the contentment of a tale in which good simply wins and evil loses. In Maloney's Law, as in life, it's a mix. Dominic might be the bad guy, but he's not all bad. We sympathize with Paul, but he's clearly no saint.
The frosting on the cake of this novel is the writing. So Paul says, early on: "God alone knows what this man was ever doing with someone like me." Later he ventures to ask: "When will I be free of it, this rock-hard certainty that, even when the book between the two of us seems closed, somehow, somewhere there's another chapter not yet written?"
I thank you, Anne Brooke, for writing this story.
(As originally reviewed on Rainbow Book Reviews. Please visit [...]
"Can he solve the mystery and protect those he loves before it's too late?
"Maloney's Law was shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Prize 2006 (for novels set in London) and the Royal Literary Fund Scheme, and longlisted for the Betty Bolingbroke-Kent Novel Award. (less)"
Anne Brooke is one of the most versatile and luminous writers I have ever read. She writes for children, writes comedy, short stories, novellas, and full-length novels. Every single thing I've read has challenged to think differently and stretched my comfort zones. No matter what genre she is writing, she shows us that all human beings share the same concerns, the same issues, the same problems.
Maloney's Law is a beautifully written mystery. It grabbed me from the first word. It starts out with a seemingly straightforward investigation of a potential business deal. The characters have depth. They are real people, not cardboard cutouts moving about. She takes the time to give them personality, to show them in relationships in a believable manner.
One of the things that Brooke excels at is making me interested in characters that I dislike. I intensely disliked Dominic. The more I knew of him, the more I couldn't stand him. The least offensive thing he did was cheat on his wife repeatedly. He had an affair with his administrative assistant and then fired her, with a large pay-off to keep silent. Brooke is a Britsh writer and I don't know British law from the back of my head, but here in the USA we have laws against sexual harassment and I really hate it when employers initiate a sexual relationship with an employee. What's worse, Dominic was planning to have sex with his new administrative assistant. And there is worse to be said of him but I'll keep it to myself because "spoilers, sweetie."
Paul, our hero, is a complicated man with a childhood tragedy overshadowing his entire life. He and Dominic had an affair which Dominic ended because that's what he does. Dominic is a serial cheater, has short-terms affairs and ends them abruptly if he senses any sort of threat to his marriage. Paul is deeply in love with Dominic. Very deeply in love and I didn't and still don't understand it because even before I found out the worst about him, I couldn't stand Dominic and I wanted better for Paul. I was really invested in Paul. I see a lot of myself in Paul.
Paul investigates, then investigates even more deeply. Something truly horrible happens which triggers bad symptoms of PTSD. It's hard to write because I don't want to give anything away. I want readers to make the same discoveries as did I.
I won't kid you, in many ways, this is a dark book. Brooke will take the reader to places maybe the reader doesn't think the reader wants to go. But she does it so skillfully, so masterfully, writing so beautifully, that the reader will follow her into the darkness and then back out of in a redemptive kinda way.
Made the happy discovery that there is a sequel. I am so delighted by that. I can't wait to see what happens to Paul and I very much want him to find some happiness.
Brooke is not a well-known author. She deserves to be more widely known. Read her stuff, tell your friends.