Sunday, February 1, 2015

Review: GATSBY'S SMILE by Morana Blue

GATSBY'S SMILE by Morana Blue 

Reviewed by Grant Nicol

This book was a pleasant little surprise I must say. It’s slightly unorthodox in the way that it goes about itself but that’s what I liked about it. It’s a psychological thriller in the true sense of the word. In many ways it feels as though the entire story happens between the ears of the central character, Morana ‘Moody’ Blue such is the claustrophobic nature of the narrative. The story do esn’t move around very much physically either which makes it feel as though it’s all being played out inside her head. She is a psychologist who works for the police and suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder which makes her as unsure about what’s going on most of the time as you are as a reader.

You can check out any time you like. But you can never leave.

There is a killer on the loose at an old folks’ homeand as each body is found the vultures of suspicion circle slowly around Morana before taking a real interest in her and closing in for the kill. As she is unsure of whether she could be responsible or not you will find yourself every bit as confused as her colleagues, police officers ‘Happy’ Harry and ‘Handsome’ are. They are a little unwilling to think ofher as a suspect, at first anyway, but get used to the idea as the circumstantial evidence builds and builds.

She paused to gauge my reaction. There was none. Which, of course, is a mighty fine reaction.

Initially you don’t want to contemplate that she is the one committing the murders either but as her inner turmoil becomes evident and her relationship with her childhood imaginary friend, Maro builds you are left with little choice but to open your mind to any number of strange and disturbing possibilities.
That’s where the fun begins. Once you discover that this is not just another police procedural but a genuinely strange and unsettling book you can settle back and enjoy the ride. There is some genuinely good writing and at times it really captured my imagination. The humour is dark and sometimes bleak. I liked that a lot as well.

"Just do it."
"Just murder a woman?"
"Not just any woman. It's your mother.”

But sometimes it is beautiful and heartfelt too.

And saw that, maybe, whirling unseen above us, beyond the range of weak human perception, beyond the weighty span of mere human suffering, ethereal souls screamed and screamed and screamed in perpetual terror. Infinite horror. Trapped, vaporised into the earth's sick atmosphere,by what we decide to do to our dead.

There is some real talent on show here and I can see this book doing very well. The character of Morana Blue is as complex, or maybe complicated would be a better word, as you will find and her struggles to make sense of herself are honest, painful andchaotic. A bit like real life really.

This is it. This is Life. Not the stuff of films or novels. Life is simple. Complicated and hard.

She is maybe not someone you would want to spend the rest of your life with but she’s a lot of fun on the page. If you like things dark, pithy and intricate this will be a book for you.

Grant Nicol is a crime writer who lives in Reykjavik, Iceland. You can follow him on Twitter @GrantNicol1. 

1 comment:

  1. Intriguing sounding book - I shall look out for it. Great review.