There’s Something I have to Tell You by Michelle McDonagh

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | Crime/Thriller
There's Something

By Ita Roche

There’s Something I have to Tell You by Michelle McDonagh

An unputdownable dark family drama and a real gem in the genre. I highly recommend it.

When a story questions early, what happened – whodunit, and why, you know you have a gem of a read in your hands. And, There’s Something I Have To Tell You has all of the above in spades. Pun intended for a farm-based story.

With a cast of captivating characters and one as toxic as the fumes of any agitated slurry, this story grabbed me and held me firmly in its grip. Michelle’s use of language and turn of phrase left it a pleasure to read.  I felt at home in the story from page one. Actually, from the opening lines – It was the dog who raise the alarm first. Or tried to at least.

That automatically draws you into the scene of urgency. Anyone who has a canine friend knows if you hear frantic dog barking there’s something amiss, bigtime. The pace kicks off right there and never lets up.

There is so much I loved about this book it’s hard to know where to begin, but, let me kick off with the authors ability to blend family drama and whodunit with such ease. It takes the genre and drops it firmly into the farming community of East Galway in rural Ireland.

All family units have their difficulties and the Kennedy’s were no different. And when Glenbeg’s owner, James (Jimmy) Kennedy, recently diagnosed with dementia, goes missing, his family rush to alert his wife, Ursula; only to discover she too is missing.

And just as agitating slurry is a hazardous activity because the gases released are heavier than air and can displace oxygen, leading to suffocation – the same is true for family secrets. When they rise, they’re toxic.

It rapidly becomes apparent that everyone has something they wish to keep hidden. And as with the release of the gasses in the slurry pit – once stirred there is no going back. All standing in the danger zone are at threat to go down.

It transpires that Kate and Rob had been arguing with Ursula over a barn conversion that was meant to be their home after finding out that Ursula, first and foremost the businesswoman, had other plans for it. But surely that isn’t reason enough to kill her. And in such a horrendous way. Or, is it? They had, after all, put a stop to their fledgling careers and returned home to help out at Glenbeg following a tragic event on the farm. A long cry from the life they had envisaged for themselves, and resentment can do strange things to a person.

The youngest daughter, Christina, is already struggling with her mental health. If she tells anyone what she knows, the consequences could be beyond devastating.

It’s family drama personified that would leave you wanting to murder Ursula Kennedy yourself. Sometimes you come across characters you love to hate but with her, I just hated her, simple as – in the, oh that character is getting under my skin, kind of way. You just have to turn the page to see who, what, why and how she gets her comeuppance.

Mc Donagh’s penmanship is excellent with some lines that really caught my heart and others that made me giggle. I reread this over the weekend on my kindle so I could refresh what it was I loved about it the first-time round. And it was just as enjoyable, I might add. In fact, I highlighted even more than I had originally.

Debut par excellence, Michelle – it’s no wonder it hit the bestsellers list so fast.

There's SomethingThere’s Something I have to Tell You is a superbly crafted dark family drama, a seriously clever debut. It is an original tale highlighting the volatility of family relationships and the invisible ties that hold them together, written with a controlled and expert hand. Bravo, Michelle McDonagh!

(c) Ita Roche

Order your copy online here.

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