Jenna is trying to rebuild her life after a series of disastrous relationships. Luke is struggling to provide a safe, loving home for his deceased partner’s young son, following a devastating tragedy. When Jenna and Luke meet and fall in love, they are certain they can achieve the stability and happiness they both desperately need. And yet, someone is watching. Someone who has been scarred by past events. Someone who will stop at nothing to get revenge… Dark, unsettling and immensely moving, Quicksand of Memory is a chilling reminder that we are not only punished for our sins, but by them, and that memories left to blacken and sharpen over time are the perfect breeding ground for obsession, and murder…
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. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines, After He Died, In the Absence of Miracles and A Song of Isolation soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.
My thoughts: this was a brilliantly clever tale of the past, how we interpret our memories, those we choose to preserve, and redemption. Both Luke and Jenna are trying to build new lives, falling in love could be part of it, but there share a connection in the past and someone is determined to drag it all into the light and seek revenge.
It’s so subtly done – you feel sorry for the characters but then a new piece of information might change that, even Jamie, who isn’t a good person in this book, my opinion of him changed a few times, although not his sister, pulling his strings, she was a bit less multi-faceted. She refused to face up to reality, cherry picking her memories and believing everyone else to be lying. Her idol couldn’t slip from his pedestal, her warped view of the past caused a lot of harm.
Luke and Jenna were complicated people, Luke in particular had a pretty dark past and some things he wasn’t proud of, but in training as a therapist and in raising Nathan, he was trying to be a better man – to be someone his son could be proud of. Being dragged back into the messy history of his life before could destroy that. When he and Jenna realise what’s going on, they don’t seek to take revenge and cause more harm, because some things need to stay safely in the past.
Really interesting and compelling, I was rooting for them and for Nathan to have a happier time of it, losing his mum so young must have been awful. Thankfully it ends on a positive swing for him, and some of the other characters. After the repercussions of past events, you need the knowledge that things can change.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.