Firstly I wish to thank Ruth Killick of Ruth Killick Publicity for inviting me on the Blog Tour for MR. TODD’S RECKONING by Iain Maitland
Norman Bates is alive and well… He’s living just next door
Behind the normal door of a normal house, in a normal street, two men are slowly driving each other insane. One of them is a psychopath.
The father: Mr Todd is at his wits end. He’s been robbed of his job as a tax inspector and is now stuck at home… with him. Frustrated. Lonely. Angry. Really angry.
The son: Adrian has no job, no friends. He is at home all day, obsessively chopping vegetables and tap-tap-tapping on his computer. And he’s getting worse, disappearing for hours at a time, sneaking off to who-knows-where?
The unholy spirit: in the safety of suburbia, one man has developed a taste for killing. And he’ll kill again.
Mr Todd’s Reckoning
A GUEST POST FROM IAIN MAITLAND
WHY SUBURBIA IS THE PERFECT PLACE TO SET A CRIME NOVEL
Mr Todd’s Reckoning is the story of a father and a son living together in a small bungalow during the hottest summer since records began. One of them is a psychopath who kills … and kills … and kills again.
As an author, I try to write about places that are close to me so that I can see wherever it is my characters are living … working … and killing. It’s just easier that way. I’m not going to set a book in Moscow or Alaska because I’ve never been there. Sure, I can do some research and I have an imagination – but why make it so much harder for yourself?
I did a talk with an international thriller writer last year. He’s a BBC International Affairs Correspondent and writes about the super-powers in conflicts that may lead to World War III. Everything you need to know about Russia, China and the US, he knows. His books feature chisel-jawed spies and fabulous and exotic places.
He knows about that sort of stuff. I don’t. I write about men in bungalows, going to the local Co-op to get a microwave meal for their tea and having a night out at the Wimpy. It’s what I know. I come from a working-class background from south London where you had fried eggs and chips at six o’clock at the kitchen table; ham if you were lucky.
I also like the whole juxtaposition thing. Those of you of a certain vintage may recall the quote from the third Doctor Who, Jon Pertwee, who said something like ‘There’s nothing more scary than coming home and finding a Yeti on your loo in Tooting Bec.’ Fact is, if you set a book in outer space, or the wild west, or a creepy castle in Transylvania, you’ve got a pretty good idea where it’s going.
Set it, as I have with Mr Todd’s Reckoning, in suburbia – in the back streets of a town in the middle of nowhere where people work 9 to 5, sit out on the patio at the weekend, mow the lawn once a week – and you don’t really know quite what’s going to happen. Maybe you can hear the neighbour chopping wood … or sawing something in the garage … or digging a new flower bed. But … you can’t be quite sure that’s what he’s doing.
As the book begins, you meet the older Mr Todd. He’s just a lost his job – unfairly, so he says – and is sat at home all day in his little bungalow. It’s hot and he’s steaming angry. He’s worried about his son too, the younger Mr Todd, and what he’s doing. He’s been in a bit of trouble with the police before. Now he’s disappearing goodness knows where. It’s all very humdrum and ordinary to start with … and then it turns into something very different.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
Oh my giddy aunt, what had I let myself in for! I cringed, I had goosebumps and I don’t think that I will ever look at my neighbours the same ever again. Every time, since I finished this book, I feel like the curtains are twitching from everyone’s windows as I walked to the shops. I am ruined as a neighbour but at the same time elated as a reader. This is pure creepy gold.
The story is told through Mr. Todd. Mr. Todd who only wants to be left alone to see his life out in his little bungalow. Thing is his son Adrian lives with him and Adrian has so many compulsive disorders it would be impossible for him to live elsewhere. Every little habit annoys Mr. Todd. In fact, Mr. Todd feels badly done to by everyone. Adrian has been the cause for the police to visit in the past and Mr. Todd knows that he is up to something, but what?
I loved how this story built and came together, and although there were quite a few characters in the story, all impacting in Mr. Todd’s life, they all remained clear in my mind. Each in their own little tidy compartment in chapters in the story. My unease grew and my curiosity was ready to explode with each turn of the page and the entries he had to put down on paper. I was gobsmacked!
What a superb storyline, brilliant characters that were crisp in my mind and superb subplots that tweaked my adrenaline even more. My own imagination had been doing flips and as for the end I didn’t speak for hours! This is a stunner!
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Iain Maitland is the author of Dear Michael, Love Dad (Hodder, 2016), 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 gives regular talks about mental health issues in the workplace. A writer since 1987, he is a journalist and has written more than 50 books, mainly on business, which have been published around the world.