Review: His Father's Son by Tony Black (5/5)

Wednesday 25 June 2014
Australia is the Lucky Country, and Joey Driscol knows it. It's a far cry from his native Ireland, but he believes this is the place he and his wife Shauna can make a new life and forget the troubles of the past. For a time, they do just that, and soon welcome their son Marti into the family. 

But as the years pass, this new life thousands of miles from the Old Country comes under threat. Joey's wife has been struggling with demons of her own, their marriage is on the rocks and suddenly, Shauna disappears and takes Marti with her. Joey is beside himself, with no clues about where they are, with both his childhood sweetheart and his son – his pride and joy – now missing. 

Then, when Joey gets word that his wife and son have returned to Ireland, he knows that he'll now have to do the same if he ever wants to see them again. And he also knows that he'll finally have to confront the ghosts of his past that he's been running from for years. 

His Father's Son is a touching and beautiful story of a family struggling to come to terms with their past, their present and an uncertain future.

A few years ago I read Tony Black's DI Rob Brennan books and loved them (where's book three?!) but when I read the blurb for this book it sounded a lot different to his other books. It did however sound like something I'd enjoy reading so I happily started reading a few nights ago and was halfway through after a few hours! If you asked me for one word it'd be 'wow'. This book was stunning.

I think it's a book you could give to die hard Tony Black fans without telling them who wrote it and they wouldn't guess the author. The blurb is just so mysterious and intriguing I defy anybody to not want to pick this book up. Joey Driscoll and his wife move to Australia and have a son, Marti. One day Shauna ups and leaves, taking Marti back to Ireland leaving Joey devastated and confused. This is such a fantastic read bursting with secrets and shrouded in mystery.

I've wanted to read books set in Australia more but have struggled with finding them. One of the challenges I think authors face setting their books, or part of them, in foreign climates is making it feel as if you are there. So many times I've read books set somewhere and apart from a few place names they could be set anywhere. Tony brings his settings to life pretty much perfectly. For the opening pages I felt as if I was in Australia myself.

The characters here are just incredible. You feel for all of them. Each with their faults and each with their secrets but easily relatable and very believable. A powerful read, touching in places and humorous in others. The humour coming at times from Marti. I'm too young to have kids myself but growing up I didn't really have the close relationship that most sons have with their dad and this book brought back some of those memories, it's definitely a regret of mine. There's so many questions you want answering whilst reading this book and such was my demand for the answers I read this in two sittings.

This whole book feels incredibly 'real'. Usually when a book feels real there's a reason, I don't know whether any of this is taken from Tony's own experiences? It's quite emotional in places and definitely had me thinking about my own life a lot. This book shows that Tony is a man of many talents and his greatest talent is writing a damn good story, not many authors can change to a completely different genre and do it almost as good, maybe even better than they do the genre they are known for. I applaud and thank Tony for this masterpiece.

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