Wednesday 20 July 2022

Countdown to a Killing by Tom Vaughan Macaulay Blog Tour


That's how I'm going to start this post.

When I was asked to join the blog tour for Tom Vaughan Macaulay's novel, Countdown to a Killing, I honestly didn't know what to expect. I was drawn in by the blurb but the story that I got was brilliantly different.


London, Sicily, Huddersfield 2016–2017: Wen Li is a deeply kind and sensitive twenty-nine-old British-Chinese woman who suffers from severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which manifests itself in an incessant, overwhelming fear that she might have murderous impulses. Unlucky in love and emotionally scarred, Wen falls for colleague, Lomax Clipper, a tremendously frustrated and delusional Englishman. He’s in love with a Sicilian young woman he met while working in Italy, but he and Wen do share a mutual loathing of their boss, Julian Ponsonby. Julian’s struggling too – with a toxic relationship and his father’s refusal to accept his sexuality. On his return to Sicily, via a sabbatical, Lomax befriends Fifi de Angelis, a vulnerable Sicilian man with restricted growth who has been ostracised by his family.


The concept of this tale is one that I have never come across before.

Told from an array of points of view and perspectives, this is not your typical tale as it is presented through various correspondence including Whatsapps and emails.

Having never heard of the author before, I had no expectations at all but I was pleasantly surprised at just how good I found it, the premise really worked.

The characters are quirky shall we say. And I really enjoyed the fact that we actually got to know them in quite some detail, their conversations with people revealing personality traits and eccentricities. Not your typical murder suspects.

Chats are very one way, the replies aren't revealed, leaving it up to our imaginations to decide just how the recipients were perceiving them. I found myself feeling sorry for both Wen and Lomax at times, even though I also noted that they appeared quite oblivious to what others might think of their actions etc.

What's more interesting about this book is that we know there is a death to come, at some point in the future. This had me reading quicker as I was eager to find out not only who the killer could be but also just who was going to be killed. However, the more I read, I had the feeling that the death could also be metaphorical as well as reality.

The author certainly has a knack for keeping the tension high.

There are little 'interludes' which break up the correspondences, this was an added feature that I really enjoyed.

Highly mysterious, I found that there were a few key themes throughout, looking at love, sexuality, ethnicity and mental health. And I think it is because of this that I wouldn't necessarily put this book in the category crime or thriller, more literary fiction.

Over all, a good book.

My only criticism is that after such build up, the ending felt rushed. I wanted more resolution from it all.

Definitely a story to keep you guessing.


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