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Thursday 18 April 2019

The Man on the Middle Floor by Elizabeth S. Moore

I'd completely forgotten what this book was about, and for some reason, I thought it was a light-hearted, comedic even, novel. It was a bit of a shock to find it was the complete opposite…there's a lesson learnt: check what you're about to read! 

This was dark novel, sometimes violent, but…gripping. It follows the lives of three people, each living in a flat of a three-storey house. Each of them with diversely dysfunctional lives: Tam on the ground floor has retired himself out of the police force—a rash decision he starts to regret. Nick on the middle floor is autistic and is trying to live independently using strict routines and daily lists. Karen on the third floor is a career-focused doctor, whose obsessive research into autistic people has wrecked her marriage and personal relationships. A violent and seemingly senseless unprovoked murder implicates and interweaves their lives.

The story is told by each of the three characters' POV. I thought it was a well-structured and compelling thriller. Karen is obnoxious and really, a victim of her obsessive career-mindedness, Nick struggles…not just because of his condition, but because of his upbringing, and Tam regrets his rash resignation from a job to which he was dedicated and reacts rather erratically. His policeman hat, however, stays firmly on his head…as it were…because it's his instincts that force the three residents' lives to connect.

There are characters you dislike intensely, some you feel frustrated for, Nick in particular, and some you like. Tam is a bit shambolic, but I did feel there's a sequel in him!

This was a bold book for a debut novel, but Moore has crashed into the literary world with quite a bang. I shall look forward to her next novel.

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