Alternate chapters narrate his current life and thoughts, interspersed with a history of Alan's life and what led him to do what he did.
For The Last Time follows Alan through his very difficult childhood, filled with abuse and poverty, and takes him through his first criminal activities, to gangs, and then to the event that led to his life time sentencing.
For The Last Time by Janet Kelly was published by BB Fiction, an imprint of Bobaloo Books on 28 January 2016. I read and reviewed the author's previous book, Dear Beneficiary on Random Things in March 2015.
For The Last Time is a gritty and powerful story told in the words of Alan, a convicted murderer who is sitting in his cell, contemplating his future and looking back over his life. Many authors have created characters who have murdered and are evil. Alan is not made from that mould. Here's a man who has spent much of his adult life time regretting his past. He's had time to think and to realise. He's broken.
Janet Kelly does not hide anything from the reader. She describes, in detail, the horrendous start that Alan had in life with his useless mother and the men that she brought home. Alan suffers dreadfully at their hands, his life of violence and neglect is chillingly observed and shockingly realistic.
Nobody thinks that a lifetime of abuse and neglect is an excuse to become a murderer, not even Alan. As he relates his story, and the circumstances that led him to the day that changed his life, and ruined a family for ever, the reader can understand, not condone, but understand how he came to this.
Janet Kelly writes with an incredible insight into the human psyche. Alan is a character who has committed the most terrible of crimes, yet she allows the reader to become attached to him, to see him as a human being.
The writing is sharp and precise, the characters are full of vulnerabilities and perfectly created. For The Last Time is at times, very blunt and quite vicious yet it is also fragile and delicate. Janet Kelly is a clever and compelling author, I enjoyed this story very much.
My thanks to the author who sent my copy for review.
Janet Kelly is a former journalist and author of the highly-acclaimed Dear Beneficiary.
She is the owner of freefeatures.co.uk
Janet's interests other than writing include cooking, golf, reading, travel and playing saxophone with the all female big band, The Fabulous Honeys. She has been a school governor and magistrate and enjoys being the maverick in all authoritarian organisations.
She gave up running marathons after her toenails came off half way through the London race -and has resigned herself to never being the type of person who gets up on a Sunday morning to go for ten mile jog.
Her inspiration for writing comes from an enjoyment of watching and understanding people, underlined by her qualifications as a Neuro Linguistic Programme (NLP) practitioner.
Follwe her on Twitter @JantyK