Maloney's Law
  “This is one good read that has whetted my appetite for more." [Amos Lassen, reviewer]

Maloney's Law - Reviews

  • Maloney's Law is the book previous to The Bones of Summer which I reviewed on this blog. One of the frustrations I had about The Bones of Summer is that I never really understood the character of Paul Maloney. He seemed such a private person and yet also had baffling mood swings. I now realise that many of my questions would have been answered if I had read Maloney's Law first. The book is taken from the first person point of view of small time private investigator Paul. At the beginning we learn several things about this complex man. Firstly he had an affair and fell in love with a married man, Dominic, three years before the start of the book, which ended badly leaving Paul broken hearted. This led to Paul having a nervous breakdown. Secondly, he has a long term friendship with his assistant Jade, who helped him through his breakdown and thirdly that he has an uncanny ability to keep track of dates, almost down to the hour: "As he’s the last man I’ve slept with, it must be three years, four months, and one week since I had sex at all. At least with someone else in the room. I wonder if that makes me unusual." Dominic has called Paul out of the blue and asked him to take on a case for his company. Dominic owns a very successful IT company and he is thinking of merging with another company based in Egypt. He wants Paul to discover if there is anything underhand going on that would affect the merger. On the surface this seems like a simple job. Paul needs to do a bit of digging, travel to Cairo and dig some more and then bring a report back to Dominic. However, things hot up when firstly a dead woman turns up outside Dominic's offices and then Paul is threatened and an attempt is made on his life whilst staying in Cairo. I said earlier that Paul is a complex character. In fact it's difficult to put down in words all the various aspects of Paul's character. He's a man who is very much alone in his life. He never sees his father (for reasons I won't go into here as it would be spoilerish) and so the relationship with his mother is strained; he hasn't had a lover since Dominic; and he spends his time either working or alone in his house. His only friend is Jade and theirs is a delightful friendship full of love and laughter. They have an affection for each other which is shown in the way they joke with one another or share information and it is obvious that Paul holds Jade in deep regard. Jade's family also welcome Paul even if Jade's parents are a little perturbed over the exact nature of their friendship. Alongside Paul's relationships (or lack thereof) is his emotional state which seems to constantly hang in the balance. He spends most of the book barely holding onto his emotions, fighting to keep an impassive front in the face of the return of Dominic into his life and the wonderful/terrible memories that brings. When something happens to tip that status quo, Paul is unable to cope and goes into an emotional meltdown which was entirely in keeping with what I would have expected from his behaviour at the beginning of the book. However, my favourite part of Paul's character were the little quirks given to him by the author. I've already mentioned the date keeping, but there were other things as well. Paul's love of whisky and the way he ruthlessly rations it out (hinting that he may once have had a serious problem with alcohol) is another great quirk sending him into rhapsodies of eloquence when he finally succumbs and drinks some: "Last of all is The Macallan, rarely opened, its rich toffee glow hinting of secrets not yet understood, not yet known. Yes, this is the one. As I release it, the smell of new leather and dark Spanish sherry settles around me, and I pour a double measure, more, into my waiting glass. The golden liquid swings round, marking its place, waiting for me, calling." He also has a number of amusing 'PI rules' which he brings out every so often, usually when he has broken one of them: "Second rule of PI work: don’t employ someone who’s moral". The story itself is a breathtaking ride from start to finish. Paul's tenacity leads him further and further into danger as he uncovers clues leading to the death of the young woman and the connection to her and the company Dominic wants investigating. Along the way there is action, excitement, tragedy, betrayal, pain and heartbreak until Paul is the only thing standing between corruption and justice. Not only does Paul have to face up to some of his greatest fears he also makes discoveries about those he loves the most. By the end of the book Paul has been put thoroughly through the wringer - as has the reader - and had his world turned completely upside down. It's no wonder then that he seemed so distant and so unwilling to get involved with Craig's problems in The Bones of Summer which is set only a few months after the end of this book. I feel that I ought to point out that whilst there is some sex in this book, it is not a romance. There is hope though, especially as Paul meets Craig towards the end of the book. Maloney's Law is a mystery, and a great one at that which kept me guessing right to the end, but not a romance. Once again Anne Brooke has produced a book which is high in emotional intensity and yet never strays into hysteria. Her descriptions of setting, character and situation all combine to make Maloney's Law into an unforgettable read. I highly recommend that you read this book - preferably before The Bones of Summer - as you won't be disappointed. Grade: 'Excellent'.” [A review by Jenre at the Well Read Book Blog on 10 September 2009]

  • “This is one compelling and riveting story. I could not put it down. Paul is one tortured soul and his mesmerizing narration grips me from page 1. International intrigues, heart stopping plot, gut wrenching love, a heart tugging friendship, Maloney's Law has it all. Paul is such a complex character. Flawed and pitiful when it comes to his obsessive love for a man who could never reciprocate. Yet without a thought for his life when his search for the truth drives him on. His tragic loss since childhood, his plunge into despair, his sense of justice, his struggle to live on, all these powerfully expressed by the writer. Just brilliant and I look forward to reading the sequel, The Bones of Summer, and more from Anne Brooke. My only regret is that I should have read this earlier.” [A five star review from R Parkland on Amazon US]

  • “One such book that I did read whilst on the balcony in the high 90s was Anne Brooke's Maloney's Law, available from Amazon. Now at first I wasn't too sure about it, I'm not a private dick kinda guy, so I'm not one for purchasing and reading detective stories, but hey, I saw this in America, knew that Anne although she may be an Essex girl lives close to my Surrey roots, so thought what the heck. Now that I've finished, I'm so bloody glad I did, it's an astonishingly good read; once I got in to it I was gripped and wanted, no, needed to know what lay ahead, how the future was mapped out for our hero, Paul Maloney. Small town private detective earns a crust for little insurance fiddle cases, it pays the rent but only just, that is until he takes on a case that will change his life. I'm not sure if he takes on the case or the case takes him on but, after that, life cannot be the same again for this London lad. It's not long before he's jetting off and entering a world of high-class crime, big business and seat of your pants danger. Oh yeah, and I forgot to say, this new and exciting case he's working on just happens to be from his ex lover, called Dominic! The book is fun, interesting and exciting, there are some real high and some very low points in the story that had me smiling and also my eyes moist with sadness. I won’t go on and spoil it for you and tell you the plot and the ending except to say … yep there is death in that story, but where, when and how, you'll have to read to find out, which if you ask me, you blooming well should do. It's a great read!” [A review from Jason Shaw on MySpace]

  • “Plenty of other reviewers have stolen the words I might have used *haha*, so I'll happily endorse them all and add my reader's perception. The book was a delicious bolt from the blue to me, strong and sexy and passionate and anguished and complex and realistic and hopeful - all the things that Paul himself embodies! I loved the fresh approach to what is a mix of crime, psychological drama, romantic relationships, occasionally shocking violence and sly detection. Paul drives it all without becoming either pathetic or arrogant or irritating. Anne's writing is sympathetic while bringing you the reality of life, she can describe his thoughtfulness and pathos just as vividly as his decisive action. Paul's relationship with Dominic was so bold and so poignant in all its stages, it made me ache for them both. The secondary characters shone, the setting was a delight to me, another London-ite. I loved it and was sorry to see it end! She has another book in the same setting out in 2009, though I don't think it's strictly a sequel, and I'm really looking forward to it.” [A five star review from Clare London on Amazon UK]

  • “I do not know why I have never read Anne Brooke before but I am sure going to continue reading her after having read Maloney's Law. She can really tell a story and her plot is mesmerizing. Paul Maloney, a small time private investigator, takes a case from his married ex-lover, Dominic Allen, and he soon finds himself in the middle of big business dealings and the world of international crime. The more involved he becomes, he realizes that he is danger of losing everything that is important to him. If he could center his attention on his job he would probably be ok but instead he gets more and more embroiled. What really makes this novel so special is the way Brooke draws her character of Maloney and his opposite Dominic. Maloney is so real that you feel like screaming at him when he does something wrong and drying his tears when he cries. He is strong and breaks into a building that he must force his way out of. We feel his danger and sense his emotional upheavals; Dominic is the kind of guy who is a source of grief for Maloney simply because he is the ex. The plot is tight and consistent throughout. Replete with details I found the book to be intriguing and the book is abundant with realism. There is one scene that will keep you on the edge of the chair. This is one good read that has whetted my appetite for more.” [A five star review from Amos Lassen on Amazon US]

  • “Maloney's Law by Anne Brooke excels on an emotional level, tugging the reader in as many directions as the investigation pushes private investigator Paul Maloney. However, I can't help feeling that the book is ineffectively or insufficiently categorised and may well suffer for it, which would be a pity. The underlying crime is a decent backdrop to the story but not the driving force. The more explosive emotional impact arises from the consequences of obsession, desire and obstinacy. It's a psychological thriller in many ways, but one bearing on the mental journey of the protagonist. I thoroughly enjoyed this as a riveting exploration of the human condition and complexities of all types of relationships, which Anne writes superbly. Perfect. The right amount of pain, the right amount of beauty, with just enough hope thrown in.” [Review by author, Sharon Maria Bidwell]

  • “Novelist and poet Anne Brooke’s novel, Maloney’s Law, introduces us to Paul Maloney, ‘a small-time private investigator from London’. Against his better judgement, he takes on a case from big-time businessman, Dominic Allen. For Maloney, the case is fraught with physical and emotional risks. Dominic is his ex-lover, and the ‘ex’ part of the equation is still the source of great pain for Maloney. With her use of a gay PI, Brooke is able to step outside the hard-bitten clichés of the genre and explore an emotional landscape denied to many other crime writers. When Maloney is upset, he cries. Yet, when he needs information vital to his new case, he breaks into a secure building and fights his way out, dodging bullets as he goes. The complexity of her main character is one of the great strengths of the novel. The reader feels his peril and his emotional turmoil when he discovers just how ruthless his ex-lover can be. Brooke adheres to one of the best traditions of the genre in the tightness and internal consistency of her plot. The details of the investigation weave an ever more intriguing spell around the reader. Her descriptions of the gruesome reprisals inflicted on Maloney, after he discovers too much, are carried off with compelling realism. His immersion in the Soho clubbing scene is also done with unflinching honesty. With writing credits that range across crime fiction, psychological thrillers, romantic comedy, fantasy and poetry, one can only wonder where Anne Brooke’s eclectic interests will take her next. On the evidence of Maloney’s Law, it will be a fascinating destination.” [Review by author, Tony Judge]

  • “Paul Maloney has a lot on his plate. If he could just keep his mind on his job he'd be a lot better off. Fortunately for the reader, he doesn't. What's obvious right off the bat is that this novel is written by an accomplished stylist. As it turns out, Anne Brooke is also a poet, which makes for a charming read. But you may not have time to stop to appreciate that fact because the action sweeps you up from the word `Go!' The characters are compelling (there's nothing like a sexy, morally ambiguous, irresistible charmer to stir up the intrigue, which Brooke has ably created with Maloney's nemesis, his ex-lover Dominic, who practically spits sex) and the plot is razor-edge gripping. (Foreign intrigue!) There's one incredibly harrowing scene where Brooke's descriptive powers come to the fore, though with a little deep breathing you can make it through intact. A good read, a fun ride!” [Five-star review on Amazon US by award-winning author, Jeffrey Round]

  • “Maloney's Law has excellent pace and a rich sense of place as it eases its way into the criminal world. Anne Brooke knows her London and understands the motives of both the 'good' and the 'bad'. The clever 'insider' knowledge helps to keep you on tenterhooks. But this is more than another 'gay crime novel'. It touches on very powerful emotions and there are some heartrending moments. One can't help liking Paul Maloney and his 'Laws' that mark him out ultimately in his true colours. A further precept might be added to those 'Laws'. All it takes 'to make a town good or make it what you see' is for 'good' people to do nothing. And Paul Maloney is not one of those 'good' people. He is, in the final assessment, a man of heart (despite his statement that friendship is better than love) and of integrity. He is a man of principle. A thought-provoking book.” [Five-star review on Amazon UK by Megsl]

  • “This book startled me – in the very best way! - by delivering so much more than the m/m romances I’d been reading and writing. It encouraged me to consider writing more books set in England, genres other than pure romance, and heroes who have issues way deeper than can be seen on their face and way beyond a single tale. I loved the anguish and complexity of Paul Maloney. His affair with the emotionally-selfish Dominic was wracked with pain and pleasure, and coloured his life for an obsessively long time. But the book gives us so much more of Paul than just his sex life. There was shocking horror, sorrow – OMG I cried! – violence, mystery and high drama. A fabulous, challenging blend. But all throughout, it revolved around Paul and his reactions. Amazing that I was several chapters into the book before I realized it was in 1st person present tense – it didn’t jar at all.” [A review by Clare London at Elisa Rolle's Reviews]

  • A review from Feliz on the Goodreads site

  • A review from Val Kovalin on the Obsidian Bookshelf site

  • A review from Ann Somerville on the Outlaw Reviews Site

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    Maloney's Law - Extract

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