Review: Maloney’s Law by Anne BrookeAnne Brooke
Published by PD Publishing
Reviewed by Charlotte Evans
‘Boyfriend’ is a word entirely absent from this novel and for some reason that irritated me. Paul, the eponymous main character, constantly refers to his ‘ex-lover’, and other people’s ‘lovers’. Through overuse the word took on a cloying quality, perhaps intentional though possibly not.
Another slight annoyance was the first description of the main character – naked in front of a mirror, imagining he is someone else. I’m not sure of the right way to make your reader aware of how the protagonist looks, but this mirror technique has been done so many times before it’s almost lazy.
Moving on to more general points, this is a well-written and interesting book. The main character, Maloney, has an interesting and mysterious past that kept me reading, curious to discover the truth.
Paul’s past has left him with a deep obsession with time, reflected by the use of first person present tense (which is done extremely well) but the goings-on of the present are not particularly captivating when compared to Maloney’s history – both his childhood and the more recent relationship with Dominic are significantly more engaging.
The main story concerns Paul’s ‘ex-lover’, a rich businessman named Dominic, who is “better known than Beckham” and an investigation into an Egyptian company that he’s negotiating with. Paul pops to Egypt, finds some data and returns. This is all integral to the plot but not exactly exciting. What is both exciting and intriguing is the character of Dominic – the one man in Paul’s life he really fell for; he went crazy for – the man who, for some reason, has a wife and kids. I’d have loved to know more about Dominic – a truly dynamic character.
And then there is Jade – Paul’s “secretary” (perhaps an outdated word for such a modern book). Jade is a Baptist and the nearest thing Paul has to a friend. She warns him against taking on Dominic’s case; she doesn’t want him to “go stupid” again - a wonderfully simple phrase describing obsessive love quite perfectly. Jade, however, is a little bit dull. Paul loves her; she’s clearly supposed to be witty, charming, and just plain good yet somehow, I couldn’t care about her. There just wasn’t enough there to care about.
The sex scenes are fairly explicit and they work very well – they are suitably grimy which befits this sort of novel. And, for a crime novel, it was refreshing to have a PI who cried when tragedy occurred. Paul Maloney is as damaged and dysfunctional as any good detective; his obsessions – time, whisky, Dominic – make him the sort of character you’d expect from the genre.
So overall this book offers two great characters and a fairly nondescript one, an average plot and some truly brilliant back story. Fans of the author will surely enjoy the complexities of the novel – messed up love, broken families – but the uninitiated may find they’re halfway through the book before they find anything to entice them into the magnificent mind of Paul Maloney.
Charlotte Evans writes “I’m a twenty-three year old writer, currently working for my local library service. Lovely to be surrounded by books all day, depressing that they're all written by 'celebrities'. I'm interested in reading, TV, theatre, stand up comedy, film and music.”