After He Died by Michael J Malone | Book Review (@OrendaBooks @michaelJmalone1) #AfterHeDied


Published by Orenda Books

Available in book and paperback (20 September 2018)

300 pages

I’m hugely excited to be taking part in this blog tour and co-hosting today with my blog buddy, Eva from Novel Deelights (do check out her review too).  I’ve loved both books I’ve read by Michael (A Suitable Lie) and (House of Spines) and was so looking forward to reading this. My thanks to Orenda Books for the review copy and to Anne Cater for the tour invitation.


|   About the Book   |


You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…

When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.

Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…


|   My Thoughts   |


Paula Gadd is at the funeral of her husband Thomas when an unknown woman approaches her and whispers to her “you need to know who your husband really was” before slipping a note into her pocket. With such an intriguing start to the story I was hooked.

After He Died is very different to the previous two standalones by Michael Malone.  This is a much darker thriller featuring some very nasty characters and is an addictive and suspenseful read.

I took to Paula straight away. She was a strong woman but in her grief also vulnerable and unpredictable.  For reasons we learn about, her and Thomas had drifted apart before his sudden death but that didn’t make the pain of his passing any less.  Her grief was raw and tempered with anger and confusion especially when faced with the revelation that he may have had secrets of his own, and been involved in things she knew nothing about.  She couldn’t reconcile the husband she loved with what she was hearing.  There must have been some mistake. With no family of her own to turn to, she relies on Thomas’ family for support and to try to find answers to questions.  Just when she thought she had a handle on things, there would be another piece of the jigsaw to solve.

I read this book within a day. I couldn’t bear to put it down until I came to the end.  I was confused as Paula with each new revelation about her husband’s life; I had no idea who to trust and I think I suspected everyone in turn.  Despite thinking that I had it all worked out, the ending took me completely by surprise.

The characterisation is excellent and the dialogue sharp and realistic.  The story is set in Glasgow and there was just enough dialect for realism, without being an annoyance (I don’t enjoy reading overdone local dialect).  The story includes other issues such as poverty and drugs and homelessness and the stark comparison between the haves and the have nots.

After He Died is a superb and complex twisty thriller that you won’t want to put down. It’s not a fast paced read but is more character focused with bucket loads of tension and atmosphere.  I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.





|   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  Spines soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.




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