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.
Nine-year-old Mikey has a pretty distinctive voice, and this novel stays in your thoughts precisely because his voice is so very memorable. Mikey grows up wild, combing the vast and empty mudflats of Canvey Island, in a world before technology or games consoles kept children indoors and where their childhoods were a little more ‘free-range’ Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and taking me down memory lane for some of these experiences!
Mikey’s childhood setting has a lot in common with mine – where building dens, skinning your knees and going on ‘adventure’ kept us out of doors from dawn til dusk and where our parents knew very little about the kinds of things we were up to ( which is probably for the best)
Mikey’s adventures definitely go a bit further than we ever did and although this read might alienate some readers because of its very distinct writing style, I really enjoyed finding out about Mikey’s adventures and wondering exactly where this was all going to end.
Scott’s novel is a fantastically evocative portrayal of this era and makes you remember a time where life literally did feel like it was rolling past in ‘black and white’ rather than in colour. Mikey and his circle are brought to life pitch perfectly and I felt like this novel was the equivalent of Morrissey singing ‘Every Day is like Sunday’ as we feel trapped with Mikey in his world of poverty, stagnation and a lack of escape.
The murder of a neighbour is an aspect of the novel, rather than the main event in this novel and I found this quite an intriguing approach. Mikey’s reflections on life and how he views the world around him are treated with just as much interest as the crime and this feels very true-to-life and makes you feel drawn into this adolescent world very effectively
You are not presented with any easy or neat solutions in this novel and you will definitely end the novel wondering if what happened really was in Mikey’s best interests after all. Blood, after all, is thicker than water…
This was an enjoyable read for me and I will be curious to see what Scott does next as it will be hard to create another character as believable as Mikey. This novel grew on me as I read it and I have found myself thinking about Mikey and his story a fair bit since I finished reading it. Treat yourself to a copy and meet Mikey for yourself
Writer On The Shelf
S. Lynn Scott began her adult life determined to take the theatrical world by storm. The theatrical world, it turned out, wasn’t quite so keen to embrace her as she had expected it would be, and so, nothing daunted, she successfully turned her undoubted talents to Terpsichorean entertainment in dark, exotic places.
There she learned that a jewelled bra and a very large feathered fan are no substitutes for a good book and a cheese and Branston Pickle sandwich. Her further youthful adventures are, mercifully, lost in the mists of time and she now lives with suitable decorum in Leicestershire where she writes, insists on directing others who are better at acting than she is, dreams of working for the RSC and then writes some more.
“Elizabeth, William…and Me” was her debut novel. A Patient Man is her second novel.