A Patient Man
by S. Lynn Scott
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Pub Date 23 Aug 2018 | Archive Date 26 Sep 2018
Troubador Publishing Limited, Matador
It is 1976 and Mikey, eight-years-old and street-wise beyond his years, is looking forward to a summer of freedom, roaming the creeks and the mud-flats of Canvey Island. But violent emotions are rumbling beneath the surface, about to destroy all that he thought he knew.
When Mikey’s neighbours, the Freemans, win a great deal of money, the old couple become the targets of a criminal act that leaves Peggy Freeman dead and her husband, Bert thirsting for revenge. Believing that young Mikey’s family is responsible, Bert devises a highly unusual but devastatingly effective form of reprisal. But where does the guilt really lie, and will there be punishment or redemption?
Told from Mikey’s viewpoint with light touches of humour, A Patient Man is a gripping crime novel peopled with believable characters who are drawn inexorably in to a story that explores the effects of greed, money and the human need for retribution.
A Note From the Publisher
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 27 members
There was just something about this story that caught my attention, and I knew I had to give it a try. Part of this feeling probably has to do with the setting, but I think the main reason would be the fact that A Patient Man is told from the point of view of a child. Most psychological thrillers out there show things from an adult perspective, so I was intrigued by how this story would work out by following little Mikey's perspective. There is no doubt that this one of the things that makes A Patient Man stand out from other stories. Mikey is only eight years old, but street wise and definitely smarter than people think. It was interesting to see things from his perspective and see his character react to the situation and evolve over time. A Patient Man is without doubt a character driven psychological thriller, and the pace can be slow at times. A lot of attention has been given to the different characters, although we always see them through the eyes of Mikey. Things are not told in a chronological order and rather as our main character thinks it should be, leaving us wondering what really happened and how things fit. I'm not sure about the credibility of it all and I had my doubts about certain aspects of the plot, but overall it was an entertaining enough read.
A Patient Man isn't your typical psychological thriller as you experience everything through the eyes of an eight-year-old and very street wise kid. This definitely adds a little something extra to this character driven story, although I do have to say the pace is quite slow at points. I kind of saw the ending coming and didn't like some of the characters, but overall this was without doubt an interesting story with a few hidden morals as well.
Thank you NetGalley and Troubadour Publishing/Matador for the eARC.
What a wonderful book, I absolutely loved it, a must read!
Mikey is an 8-year old who lives on Canvey Island just outside of London, where he roams free and wild, having the time of his life. His parents don't seem to care about him going to school, so why should he? He gets up to some funny and not so funny antics, all the while scavenging for the odd coins to buy himself drinks and fast food. His mother isn't the kind of mum who cooks, she's too busy going to the pub with her best friend. His dad spends most of his time in London, hovering on the edges of the big crime syndicates.
Everything changes when an elderly couple, Peggy and Bert, up the street from them wins an enormous amount of money from the Lotto and end up being the victims of a cruel crime, leaving Peggy dead. Life as Mikey knows it, is no more and Bert's revenge causes Mikey's family to fall apart irrevocably.
I found this book so touching; Mikey's love for his mum is heartbreaking and his Dad is quite an appealing character, but not so his half sister and brother. Although that's not surprising considering the appalling conditions of their home life.
The story ends on a hopeful note and I have to say this is an extraordinarily insightful mystery that makes you think about retribution and what it does to one's psyche. Highly recommended!
Surprisingly decent read this turned out to be, the latest in a series of randomly found yet very similar quiet slow boiling British dramas centered on crimes. The crime here is murder, but the story is about revenge, the slow simmering strategic kind. And also this is a coming of age story, the protagonist is a nine year old kid from a low class (ok, quite trashy really and potentially criminally inclined) family in a small seaside island (only at high tide) community. Mikey (don’t call him Michael) is a rough kid, but smart and perceptive, balanced as such by both nurture and nature. When a neighbor’s wife gets kidnapped and eventually found dead, the police has no clue, but the neighbor is convinced Mikey’s family is at fault, so he decides to kill them with kindness or more accurately give them enough rope to hang themselves by bestowing a large sum of money on each person, with exception of Mikey who gets to have posh education instead. Of course, the money rips the family apart as they engage in various pursuits suddenly available to them after a lifetime of privation. And Mikey isn’t particularly thrilled to have his old life taken away from him. But life goes on as the old neighbor patiently waits for his revenge. It’s a very quiet dense meticulously plotted story (for such a small book especially), a proper heavy drama with a murder mystery (and even an ending plot twist) thrown in, albeit mostly it’s a meditation on the nature, meaning and value of revenge and as such makes for a very interesting read. All the mores and moralities. Thanks Netgalley.
What an incredible book! It is unlike anything I have ever read before. Told in retrospect from Mikey’s point of view, when he was 8-9 years old, it’s an engrossing story that has much humor but even more pathos. This is a very difficult line to straddle, and the author does so with a deft hand. The writing is very expressive; the pictures painted in the descriptions are extremely vivid. There were times when I felt like I could even smell the salt air in the scene being described. The dialogue is written in the lexicon of the characters, which lends so much authenticity to the plot. I’m someone who likes to read dialogue out loud (if I’m by myself), and the usage of dialect here is extremely effective. The plot itself is straightforward, and told in such a way that even with long paragraphs of exposition, it never gets boring. An extremely unique book that I definitely highly recommend. Thank you to NetGalley, Troubador Publishing Limited, and the author for a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Bizarrely I quite liked Mikeys narration,he seemed like he was having a good laugh at most things, YET I really didn't enjoy it when there was actual talking going on.....
Interesting idea,that seems familiar.
Money doesn't make anyone happy.
I think it was an easy guess who the actual murderer was,but entertaining enough finding out for sure.
There were so many things I loved about this book! There was the matter-of-fact, clear-eyed depiction of poverty, petty crime and family dysfunction in London's East End during the 1970s. There was the quiet but powerful contrast between the heavy Cockney dialogue of Mikey's family and the cultured, highbrow voice of the narrator in his 40s.
Mikey is eight when "the first thing" happens -- a neighbor couple wins an enormous lottery jackpot. Next follows a kidnapping, intended to be for ransom, which goes awry. So far, so predictable. The third and fourth momentous events are surprising, even astonishing, as they occur, yet there is a sense of inevitability when they occur from what we've learned of the characters.
This book was not a thriller, but it was thrilling. It simmered with class tension and greed, and revenge played a huge role,and yet there was a thread of hope hiding throughout the narrative. We were treated to multiple views of each person's character -- Mikey's parents', his neighbors', his half-siblings' and in the end, his benefactors' -- and of the effect of money on each.
I give five stars only to those books I want to read again, and A Patient Man qualifies. Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC.
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