Title: Of Magpies and Men
Author: Ode Ray
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Can any good come of longings that a person can never satisfy? If so, good for whom?
Two corpses wash ashore in a picturesque Italian village, the violence that put them there is bound to a long-held secret and two strangers living worlds apart with seemingly nothing in common.
Benedict Grant a wealthy Londoner, leading a lonely life.
Marie Boulanger a nurse and single mum, struggling to make ends meet in Marseille.
However, a mother’s illicit revelation will set in motion a chain of events that will reshape their identities, stir poignant family affairs and delve into the by-products of lawless decisions.
With this domestic thriller, discover a captivating and moving story of impossible yearnings, weaving mystery and drama peppered with humour. A tale that will stay with you long after its final page and a twist you won’t see coming.
Why This Book
Of Magpies and Men centers on two people who find themselves unexpectedly connected. Benedict lives in England and lives what feels like a rather lonely life, though he does have one good friend. Marie lives in Marseille with her young son, working hard just to scrape by and give her son everything she can. When their lives become inextricably intertwined, things start to change and a mystery rolls in.
I chose this book because of Marie’s son. He’s not one of the main characters, but he’s always present. I love the way Marie always strives to do her best by him, always does everything she can to take care of him and protect him. He’s really such a sweet child, and I loved getting to know him throughout the book.
My review: “Of Magpies and Men was a very surprising read. I expected something more along the lines of a mystery or thriller. Instead, most of the story read like literary or family fiction. There’s a huge focus on piecing a broken family back together, of a family that didn’t know it existed forming something of a cohesive whole. It also deals with sexuality and stigma, stereotypes and interracial relationships”
The Book’s Whiskers gave this 3 stars, saying “the author brings the three story lines together very neatly, creating a satisfying and well-planned conclusion. The encounter had all the hallmarks for a nail-biting climax … revelations, the cusp of a happy ending, a sociopathic baddie, and well thought-through sequencing … but the impact was muffled and the magnitude muted”
Bookliterati Book Reviews said “Details are drip fed about the nationality of the bodies, and the forensics so you begin making assumptions as to who they are. But, this plot has so many different layers, and goes in many different directions, that builds up the tension and suspense as the book moves towards its exhilarating conclusion. Through the characters, Ode Ray explores some difficult but important issues, including the effect of air pollution on a young child with asthma, poverty, racial abuse, physical and emotional abuse and sexuality, all of which are handled with undestanding and empathy”
A Quintillion Words gave this 5 stars, saying “The author has gone above all my expectations and delivered a debut novel with charm and wit, but at the same time, with a beautiful and dangerous story to devour too. This story has a little bit of everything for lovers of crime and mystery, to drama and romance. It really is the perfect recipe for a remarkable novel!”
The Book Reader gave this 5 out of 6 stars, saying “In many ways it is a book about finding yourself, both finding the courage to be yourself and having faith in that people will accept you for who you are. It is also a very lonely story but it becomes so much brighter with amazing characters and an intriguing plot. I loved the plot twists in this book! They’re all very neatly placed. Sometimes you don’t quite realize they’re there until you remembr them”
Ceri’s Lil Blog gave this 3 stars, saying “Overall, this is a complex, intriguing tale where the author explores lots of human issues, including family dynamics, sexuality, loss and much more. There is an unexpected lightness at times, which is a welcome relief from some of the more serious themes of the book”
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