Author : Dan Malakin
Title : The Box
Pages : 350
Publisher : Viper
Publication date : June 16, 2022
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Ed Truman’s family is falling apart. His daughter Ally is being targeted by an alt-right incel organisation, Men Together. His house is being picketed, former clients are accusing him of sexual assault, his son won’t speak to him. And then Ally disappears.
Frantic, Ed suspects that Men Together have abducted her. But before he can go to the police, his DNA is found on the body of a young woman. Suddenly he’s the subject of a nationwide manhunt, led by the tenacious DCI Jackie Rose. Ed finds himself on the run with Ally’s friend, Phoenix, who claims to know where Ally is. But what is the truth? Is Ed a violent sexual predator? Or is he the victim of a ruthless conspiracy? The answers are in The Box. But not everyone who goes in, comes out alive…
| MY THOUGHTS |
Ah, the box. It got your attention in that blurb, didn’t it? As it did mine. What is this mysterious thing not everyone comes out of alive? You get a sneak peek at it in the opening chapter and it’ll send chills down your spine. But after that, the box just kind of disappears until halfway through the story when you’re almost at that point where you completely forgot about it. My point being, if said box is the reason you’re picking up this book, you may end up being slightly disappointed because ‘The Box‘ is more not about the box than it *is* about the box. If you catch my drift.
The set-up of this story reminded me a little bit of something Harlan Coben might do. In ‘The Box‘, the reader is introduced to Ed Truman. Ed is a perfectly normal every day family man, married, father of two and working as a lawyer. But suddenly he finds himself in extraordinary circumstances when his daughter is the target of an alt-right incel organisation. Things get ugly really fast. Ed’s family home is picketed by members of Men Together, former clients turn on him and accuse him of sexual assault, he and his wife seem to do nothing but argue. And then Ed’s daughter disappears. He’s convinced Men Together have something to do with that but before he can act, Ed finds himself the subject of a manhunt when his DNA is found on the body of a murdered young woman. And now this ordinary man must find a way to survive these extraordinary circumstances, keep his family safe and find his daughter before it’s too late. Piece of cake, really.
Doesn’t Ed sound like a character to root for? Yet, I can’t say I entirely was. I didn’t particularly like him, to begin with, although I wasn’t quite able to put a finger on why. He made mistakes, seemed to miss things I thought were glaringly obvious and definitely wouldn’t be up for a Father of the Year award. No, my loyalties were elsewhere.
Enter Detective Jackie Rose. Intelligent, intuitive, relentless, determined and hugely damaged Jackie. This week couldn’t possibly be worse for her as she is forced to relive the worst day of her life but she has a job to do. Will she be able to keep her head on the task at hand? I got behind Jackie from the minute I met her. She has no time for rules, or new colleagues that drive her up the wall. Actually she came across a little bit as a total not-people person and boy, can I relate to that! Jackie has no time for your bullshit. She was a character I just really liked and if at one point maybe she could get another murder case to solve, I would not be averse to that. Not so subtle hint.
‘The Box‘ is a complex and unpredictable thriller. I struggled to get to grips with it at the beginning, I must admit. It felt as if I had been thrown in at the deep end, unable to find my bearings, not seeing which way was up. It was almost as if I’d somehow missed the set-up and I was dropped into the middle of this story where things seemed rather random and little made sense to me. Now obviously, this could just be me because if you’ve been reading my reviews lately then you know my one remaining braincell is barely functioning at half capacity these days. But on the off-chance that you happen to feel the same way when you start ‘The Box‘, stick with it. It will all start to make sense at some point. I promise.
This is an author who doesn’t shy away from current and tough subject matters. ‘Men Together’ will make your blood boil, especially because it’s unfortunately utterly believable and realistic. There were some things I didn’t see coming and there were some that were a bit too predictable for my liking. It’s a chilling storyline for sure but I think I could have done with a bit more suspense and tension. That said, I enjoyed my introduction to Dan Malakin’s work and I’ll be sure to check out more.
My thanks to Viper Books for the advanced review copy. All opinion are my own.
The Box will be published on June 16th.