Saturday, April 1, 2023

Book Review: Rumors Of Her Death by J M Donellan

After literally coming back from death, Archie Leach loses a valuable package that he was supposed to deliver to a blind Australian crime lord. Now he owes an exorbitant amount as repayment and has to allow his dwelling to be used as a storage area for the gang. His past starts haunting him when his dead girlfriend mysteriously appears at random places. Someone is about to tear down his skillfully crafted facade of diverse identities. And he is forced to dog-sit his Indian neighbor's dog. 

Rumors Of Her Death is an upcoming novel by J M Donellan that chronicles the plight of an antihero possessing a chameleon like skill of shifting through identities which he employs to escape from his past. His whole life used to be an escape attempt and now it is time for him to stop and face the tormenting demons- both inside and outside him. This is a fast paced psychological thriller with elements of black comedy which is set in Australia. 

Novel uses first person narrative from the point of view of its protagonist, a man with different names and identities. It is written as he narrates the whole story to his dead (?) girlfriend addressing her as 'you'. This help reader to realise that, though there are several seemingly unconnected events happening around him, the protagonist is fixated on the guilt of her death and that remains his focal point. I was also impressed by certain portions where the narrator considers an identity that he assumes to be a different person while telling the story. All these really adds to his character arc. 

The novels begins as a standard crime thriller and gradually shifts gears midway to explore the psychological aspects of its protagonist. To the credit of its author, it never loses focus by compromising on pacing and never fails to throw comic punches regularly at the reader. It is very difficult to effectively use humor in a thriller plot, especially when the redemptive arc of protagonist is the pivot of it. A few of the puns didn't land for me, but most of it complemented the reading experience. 

I would recommend Rumors Of Her Death to readers who like to read an immensely readable thriller ride with elements of black humor thrown in and which features the psychological redemption of a flawed antihero protagonist. 

I received this EBook through Netgalley in exchange of a fair review. 

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