#BlogTour How to Survive Everything by Ewan Morrison

It’s my turn on the BlogTour How to Survive Everything by Ewan Morrison. Saraband are bringing forward publication of Saltire prize-winner Ewan Morrison’s new novel, How To Survive Everything, in response to the latest lockdown.

About the Author

Ewan Morrison is a multi-award-winning novelist, screenwriter and essayist. His 2019 novel, Nina X, won the Saltire Society Scottish Fiction Book of the Year and is currently being developed as a feature film with a multi-award-winning director. He has previously won the Scottish Book of the Year Fiction Prize (2013) and the Glenfiddich Scottish Writer of the Year (2012). 

His first feature film, an adaptation, was released in five territories in 2016, and was a finalist for four international film awards. American Blackout, a feature length docudrama co-written by Morrison, reached an estimated audience of 30 million viewers. Morrison has also been nominated for three Scottish BAFTAs. 

Follow @MrEwanMorrison on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon, Visit ewanmorrisonBuy How to Survive Everything

About the book

The novel, in the face of a terrifying near-future pandemic, is the story of 15-year-old Haley and her 8-year-old brother Ben, kidnapped by their father to his secret lockdown hideaway.  Imprisoned in their new ‘prepper’ environment, designed to deter intruders and equipped with rations of food, medicine and water to ensure their survival when civilisation collapses, they not only have to cope with their parents’ bitter divorce, but choose between deeply conflicting views of reality. 

How to Survive Everything is one teenage girl’s guide to navigating the collapse of everything she knows – including her family and their sanity.

Review

The last person you expect to kidnap you is your loving parent right? Or to isolate you from the world and teach you how to survive the kind of catastrophe that leaves only the toughest survivalists in its wake. How do you deal with that as a teenage girl? You write your own survival guide and a warning of sorts.

I think the author makes an interesting point about preppers, who is to say that what they are prepping for isn’t going to eventually come to pass. Given the past year it’s fair to say none of us know what is behind the corner or how bad a potential catastrophe or pandemic could potentially get.

How does a family deal with a conspiracy theorist, a movement that has grown considerably in the last few years. With what appears to be outlandish ideas and alternate realities, and what if those ideas are grounded in reality?

What starts out as preparing for a premise and a fear, could become the preparation for the real scenario. I loved the way it was a dystopian come domestic thriller. A real dysfunctional family and their problems combined with the serious element of a changing world. A parent convinced his children need to be prepped for the end of world and at the same time shutting his ex-partner down by taking what she cares about most. Is it revenge or genuine concern?

I also adored the snarky teenage voice as the narrator. A how to guide as only a teenage girl can view and describe it. It puts an element of wit, desperation and comedy to the story at times.

Buy How to Survive Everything at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Contraband pub date 1 Mar. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Mr Todd’s Reckoning by Iain Maitland

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Mr Todd’s Reckoning by Iain Maitland. It’s dark psychological crime fiction with no ground rules or boundaries.About the Author

Iain Maitland is the author of the thriller Sweet William (2017) as well as two non-fiction books on mental health: Dear Michael, Love Dad (2016) and Out of  the Madhouse (2018). An ambassador for Stem4, the teenage mental health charity, Iain also speaks on mental health issues in the workplace. A writer since 1987, he is a journalist and has written more than 50 books, mainly on business, which have been published around the world.

Follow @iainmaitland @SarabandBooks on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Facebook, Visit iainmaitland.net

Buy Mr Mr Todd’s Reckoning

About the book

Norman Bates is alive and well… He’s living just next door

Behind the normal door of a normal house, in a normal street, two men are slowly driving each other insane. One of them is a psychopath.

The father Mr Todd is at his wits’ end. He’s been robbed of his job as a tax inspector and is now stuck at home… with him. Frustrated. Lonely. Angry. Really angry.

The son Adrian has no job, no friends. He is at home all day, obsessively chopping vegetables and tap-tap-tapping on his computer. And he’s getting worse, disappearing for hours at a time, sneaking off to who-knows-where?

The unholy spirit in the safety of suburbia, one man has developed a taste for killing. And he’ll kill again.

Review

This was a nice little surprise. I do enjoy the kind of creepy disturbing read that stays with you for a while.

Mr Todd lives with his son Adrian in a bungalow. It’s an odd, boring and claustrophobic existence. It is for Mr Todd, perhaps not for Adrian, but then he is busy looking for his next thrill.

It’s fascinating how Mr Todd paints himself as the saviour, the good man and the person everyone likes to pick on. He likes to overlook his little ‘mistakes’ that have led to his isolated lifestyle. It is much more important to shed a big spotlight on his son, the one with the real issues.

He is doing his duty as father and as a citizen by keeping track of what his grown son is up to. The man who has a history of complaints and deviancy, and it appears he is working himself up to perpetrating even worse crimes. So Mr Todd waits and watches.

As he does so, the reader is privy to the way Mr Todd is irritated by sounds, noise, people, perhaps just life in general. Maitland describes this slow and steady increase in annoyance very well. It’s amazing how powerful single words can be just snip, snip, snipping away at someone’s sanity. It’s a testament of writing skill when a reader is taken on the same path as the character, then again perhaps some of us have our own closets with secrets and skeletons in them.

It’s dark psychological crime fiction with no ground rules or boundaries. Whatever the reader expects to happen, well don’t get too comfortable because it probably won’t happen the way you expect it to. Kudos to Maitland for not giving us the ending we expect, but rather the one we deserve because of the unquenchable thirst we have for the bizarre, the morbid and always for the unexpected.

Buy Mr Todd’s Reckoning at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: *Contraband; pub date 25 April 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

*Contraband: Mr Todd’s Reckoning is published by Contraband, Saraband’s cime fiction imprint, the publishers of man Booker-shortlisted Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project and Falling Fast by Neil Broadfoot and DM for Murder by Matt Bendoris, both shortlisted for Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year.