Friday 17 November 2017

Sweet William by Iain Maitland @iainmaitland @SarabandBooks @RKbookpublicist #BlogTour

Life and death played out over 48 hours. 
A father desperate to be with his young son escapes from a secure psychiatric hospital, knowing he has just one chance for the two of them to start a new life together.
His goal is to snatch the three-year-old - a diabetic who needs insulin to stay alive - and run away to France ... but first he must find the boy, evade his foster family and stay well clear of the police, already in pursuit.
A real page-turner cut through with dark humour, Sweet William zeroes in on a potent mix: mental illness, a foster family under pressure, and an aggrieved father separated from his precious child.
The result is an incisive and deeply affecting literary thriller.

Sweet William by Iain Maitland was published in hardback by Contraband, Saraband Books' crime fiction imprint on 16 November 2017.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Sweet William terrified me. This is not a horror story, it is classed as a crime thriller, yet the horrors of the human brain are all very real within this troubling tale. It's a book that has lingered in my mind, a book that has astounded me and although the subject matter is dark and savage, it is a book that satisfied my reading needs.

The story begins as Raymond Orrey escapes from a secure psychiatric unit, somewhere in Nottinghamshire. Told in Raymond's own voice, it is clear that he is a clever, if very dangerous character and the reader is not quite sure if his narrative is reliable.

Raymond's aim is to snatch his small son William; the love of his life, his legacy, his boy. William is living with Raymond's dead wife's sister and her partner. Although it is hinted at, the reader isn't sure what happened to the wife, or why Raymond has been locked up when the story starts, although the grisly truth becomes clear as the story unfolds.

William is diabetic and requires regular injections of insulin to stay alive. The chapters of the story alternate between Raymond's voice and the thoughts of young William. The child struggles to understand why his Mama and Papa continue to hold him down and hurt him with needles; why they won't let him have the sweets that he craves. The world is a strange place through William's eyes.

It is Raymond however, whose voice is loudest. This author has expertly captured the thought processes, the lack of understanding and empathy and the destructive nature of the psychopath. Raymond's thoughts and his actions are chilling. His justification for the things that he does in order to be with is son are cold, calculating and very frightening.

Sweet William is a tense story, it's the sort of book that makes you hold your breath as you turn each page, as you wonder just what will happen next, and will Raymond ever reach his goal.

It is clear that Iain Maitland knows his settings very well. The sense of place is astounding, be it the dark lanes and swirling Trent of Nottinghamshire or the seaside resort of Aldeburgh.

Sweet William is dark and chilling. Raymond Orrey is a menacing character, with no redeeming features, yet he is intense and intricate and shockingly realistic. Having worked in a secure psychiatric setting for ten years, I certainly recognised his traits

Gripping and immersive; Sweet William is an intelligently written thriller that deals with the intricacies of the human brain, mixed up with the emotional ties of the family.

Iain Maitland is the acclaimed author of Dear Michael, Love Dad ('intriguing ... heartbreaking' Susie Mesure, Telegraph) a moving book of letters written to his son, who suffered from depression and anorexia.

Iain is an ambassador for Stem4, the teenage mental health charity, and has discussed mental health issues on The One Show.

He lives in Felixstowe

Find out more at
Follow him on Twitter @iainmaitland 

Sweet William is published by Contraband, Saraband's crime fiction imprint, the publishers of Man Booker-shortlisted Graeme Macrea Burnet's His Bloody Project and Falling Fast by Neil Broadfoot and DM for Murder by Matt Bendoris, both shortlisted for Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year

Find out more at
Follow Saraband on Twitter @SarabandBooks 

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