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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

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on 1 September 2014
This really felt like a book of two halves. I absolutely love the first few chapters where the main character is a young teenager at school in Scotland. Then we move forward c 15 years and if feels like a different author has picked up the book. It got a bit saccharine towards the end, but the book was enjoyable. I just wish it had kept in the style of how it started, I found that part fascinating.
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on 19 September 2014
When I start a book, there's never any question that I won't finish it. It's just my `thing': I finish what I start. This book is in two parts, the first following Malcolm Wilson's life as an adolescent, while the second follows his adult life. I'll be honest: the first half didn't suck me in. But the second half had me glued to the pages. And that's one of the reasons I always stick with a book. This turned out to be a very rewarding read.

The story starts with Malcolm, just turned into a teenager, who lives with his father in Scotland. His mother lives in Canada with her latest boyfriend. School life is tough, and his time there doesn't end well. However, he emerges a responsible adult with a good life and strong sense of `right': something that turns his life around quite dramatically when he falls in love with a beautiful woman, Heather, who has a dark secret.

I liked Malcolm instantly: as a youngster he has a protective instinct, which grows with him into adulthood. Some very difficult issues are dealt with in this book, and they're handled extremely well.

I do, however, just need to mention a few reservations: a few too many Americanisms crept into the 'Scottish' language, so it lost a bit of authenticity; the story is written in the present tense, but for me, it didn't work across the time frame, and I think the past tense would have suited the first part of the book better; it could have been a tad better edited (some commas in very, very strange places!); but what I missed was more of Heather's point of view, as she had a very important story to tell--the first person POV ((Malcolm's) in which this book is written) prevents this, of course. I felt it needed that extra dimension.

But that's just my personal opinion and ultimately, I really enjoyed this book.
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on 28 August 2012
What a well written first book. The first part of the book was incredibly moving and emotional and described the life of two young boys in Scotland, being bullied and without emotional support in their lives. The thoughts of a pre-teen boy were incredibly realistic. The story then moves on to the protagonist's adult life in Canada and slowly turns into a wonderfully taught thriller, but still with the emotional, three-dimensional characters. The ending was a real page turner and I really didn't want the book to end. I'm looking forward to reading more from this talented writer.

I've just read on the Author's page that his next book will be released in December 2012 and will be called "Hardly" - sounds like we're in for a treat then with the story of the other boy in the story!
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on 4 April 2012
This is a book in 2 halves though the main character, Malcolm, is central throughout. I was hooked from early on and had to find out how the story ended but I found the first half about Malcolm's teenage years more enjoyable than the second part about a period of time in Malcolm's adult life. Both parts of the book are written in the first person and although this is not a style of writing I usually enjoy the book would not have been the same had it been written any other way. A really good read that I might have missed but I am glad I didn't.
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on 10 May 2012
'When you're 13, almost 14, everything lasts forever.'
Malcolm compares his life in Scotland to his life in Canada - the Scottish one is in 'black and white' the Canadian one in 'colour'.
He runs for the feeling it gives him, the rhythm, the sheer joy of it. I was reminded of the words of an old Jackson Browne song - Your Bright Baby Blues - 'No matter how fast I run I can never seem to get away from me.'
Malcolm takes on the bullies in defence of his friend Hardly and is expelled. No school in the area will take on a boy with such a reputation and so Mal must return to Canada. But it's 'just temporary'.
Before he leaves he tells his father, Alex, of the beatings Hardly takes from his dad. Alex decides to pay a 'neighbourly' visit to Hardly's dad, Rab, who he knows from the old days. Alex approaches and knocks, 'with the type of knock you would make if you were trying to break a door down'. As the two men weigh each other up on the doorstep the brilliantly understated dialogue is perfection...
And the exchange between Mal and Hardly is heartbreaking. Malcolm suggests they could write letters...
'You don't write letters, Malcolm, and neither do I, so let's no talk about any letters.'
I won't give any more examples, as a writer myself I know how important it is to keep the mystery of the story.
Reminiscent in ways of Stephen King's 'The Body' (filmed as 'Stand by Me') this is a wonderfully honest book. An extraordinary debut novel.
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on 16 May 2016
I really, really enjoyed this book. I'm not a big fiction reader these days as I spend most of my reading time on non-fiction, and I'd bought Martin's book on self-publishing (How I sold 30,000 ebooks on Amazon Kindle) and he mentioned how well his first fiction novel had done, so I thought I'd get it. I was immediately drawn into the story with a vulnerable, believable protagonist who was instantly likeable. The story switches between Kilmarnock and Canada... quite a juxtaposition but the author is in full control of his story, plot and characters throughout. Crosbie also achieves something extraordinary by making his character Hardly (who hardly appears in the story haha!) absolutely compelling and you just feel for this character and want to know more about him... it was therefore no big surprise to lean that there are a couple more books in the series... on my list and looking forward to reading them. I loved that this book was technically a romance (a genre I rarely read but I thought I'd make an exception!) but not in the least bit soppy... there is also a dark sub-plot that makes the tale all the more gripping... absolutely excellent read. Nothing but praise for this skillful writer! Maria McMahon
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on 25 March 2015
I though this was an amazing book and I was enthralled from the beginning. The first third of the book covers Malcolm's childhood during the 1970's in Scotland. Brought back to me all the horrors of attending school in those bad old days. Malcolm's mother and father are no longer together and mum now lives in Vancouver, Canada. Malcolm spends most of his time with dad but goes to mum in the summer holidays. Dad is lovely and although somewhat distant it is clear that he loves Malcolm and tries to do his best for him. Mum is a different story and spends her life flitting from man to man. She appears selfish and flighty. Malcolm's friend, Hardly, is a great character and I am looking forward to reading his story in the next book in this trilogy.
The rest of the book fast forwards almost two decades to 1996 and takes places mainly in Canada. Malcolm meets Heather and falls for her. But Heather has a secret and eventually confides in Malcolm. The second half of this story is fast paced and riveting and I guarantee you will not be able to stop reading until you reach the end.
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on 13 August 2014
Easy but gripping read. All the way through I wanted to know the final outcome and then was disappointed when I had finished the book, I just wanted it to go on. I got it as a freebie,one of the good ones and will be buying part two.
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on 7 March 2012
wow....great story. sad moments happy moments. i loved the authors style of writing and will definitely read books by this author in the future
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on 2 September 2012
I struggled with the first few chapters of this book but am so glad I carried on. Especially enjoyed the second half. Its well written and a great storyline. Would read more by this author.
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