Title: Chaos Is Come Again
Author: John Dolan and Fiona Quinn
Print Length: 350 pages
Publisher: Tention Publishing Limited (October 21, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
The publishing business, murders and madness
I have read and love the three books (so far) in the series Time, Blood and Karma by John Dolan. I know Fiona Quinn from her fantastic blog (I recommend it to anybody interested in writing thrillers. I had the pleasure of being one of her guests). And I was very intrigued by their collaboration. If any more encouragement were needed, the reviews were great too.
I had read interviews about the process involved in writing the novel and I wondered how it would have worked in reality, as it sounded fairly complicated.
Given all that I had been looking forward with trepidation to reading the novel and it did not disappoint.
The novel is seamless. I could not pick up parts that I fell were more likely to have been written by either author (I might have my theories, but nothing stood out), and once I got into the story that was no longer important.
The novel has two main protagonists: Sean, a young Englishman, a barista diagnosed with schizophrenia and with a violent incident in his past that weights heavy in his mind (although we’re never given any details), and Avery, an American woman, a literary agent burdened with a mother suffering from dementia, and whose difficulties provide at times light entertainment and at others add poignancy to the proceedings.
The two storylines: life in the literary world, a woman’s point of view, friends and chocolate cakes; and London’s gritty life, anxiety and self-doubt, together with a writer with a penchant for scandal (some would say blasphemous), an aspiring poet/singer and girlfriend with no evident redeeming qualities, and a mysterious serial killer, create as many plot threads as any eager reader would wish for (possibly even more).
Social media (Twitter in particular) helps bring them together and reels us into a thriller/romance, with a disquietingly open ending.
It’s dynamic, flows well although the rhythm varies according to whose point of view we’re seeing the story from, and with its mixture of characters and likable central duo it’s difficult not to find somebody to root for.
This is a book for readers who like to explore outside established genres and don’t mind open endings. I’m not sure die-hard thriller fans would approve but writers will have a chuckle. I did.
What the book is about: An American female literary agent, a British man struggling with a diagnosis of schizophrenia and concerned about a previous incident of violence, an irreverent author, a wannabe narcissist singer, who all come in contact with each other thanks to Twitter and the literary world. Ah, and a London serial killer.
Book Highlights: The London atmosphere, seen both through the eyes of locals and through those of newcomers. The inner workings of a literary agency. The relationship between Avery and her friend Lolly that adds a touch of chick-lit to the proceedings.
Challenges of the book: The book moves comfortably between the terrains of chick-lit, thriller, and accurately observed London life. The changes of registry, and the fragments of Travis’s novel might prove challenging to some readers, or at least not sit comfortably with everybody.
What do you get from it: That the cooperation between writers can lead to great things. And, that where there is a will, there is a way.
What I would have changed if anything: Being a psychiatrist I found it difficult not to diagnose and treat a few of the characters and I wonder how somebody with similar problems might react to some the way some of the characters are treated (Goose and his obsessive behaviours, for example) but it did reflect reality (it was probably fairly tolerant compared to reality).
Who Would I recommend this book to?: This novel moves across a few genres. I’m convinced most writers will enjoy it, and those who love thrillers with a degree of quirkiness (rather than straight procedural or cosy mystery lovers).
Realistic Characterization: 4/5
Made Me Think: 4/5
Overall enjoyment: 4.5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Buy it at:
Format & Pricing:
Paperback: $13.49 http://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Come-Again-John-Dolan/dp/0957325665/
Kindle:$ 4.45 http://www.amazon.com/Chaos-Come-Again-John-Dolan-ebook/dp/B00OSP0AGW/
Olga Núñez Miret