My grateful thanks to Anna Burt and the team at Red Door Publishing for inviting me to be part of the launch celebrations for The Man On The Middle Floor by Elizabeth S. Moore and for providing an advanced reader copy in return for an honest review.
Published by Red Door on 12th April 2018, The Man On The Middle Floor is available for pre-order here.
The Man On The Middle Floor
Despite living in the same three-flat house in the suburbs of London, the residents are strangers to one another. The bottom floor is home to Tam, a recent ex-cop who spends his days drowning his sorrows in whisky. On the middle floor is Nick, a young man with Asperger’s that likes to stick to his schedules and routines. The top floor belongs to Karen, a doctor and researcher that has spent her life trying to understand the rising rates of autism.
They have lived their lives separately, until now, when an unsolved murder and the man on the middle floor connect them all together.
Told from three points of view, The Man on the Middle Floor is about disconnection in all its forms; sexual, physical, parental and emotional. It questions whether society is meeting the needs of the fast growing autistic section of society, or exacerbating it.
Thought-provoking and thrilling, The Man on the Middle Floor will leave readers talking.
My Review of The Man On The Middle Floor
Tam, Nick and Karen live totally separate lives in the same house, but their lives are going to be interwoven in ways they couldn’t possibly imagine.
Well, The Man On The Middle Floor was NOT what I was expecting. I had somehow convinced myself I would be reading a fairly simplistic and entertaining humorous crime thriller. Whilst The Man On The Middle Floor is certainly entertaining, it confounded my expectations completely. I found this book disturbing, compelling and actually quite upsetting in many ways.
Readers can simply enjoy The Man On The Middle Floor as a straightforward narrative and there’s a cracking murder plot that is very satisfying. However, it is Elizabeth Moore’s exploration of who we are, of the norms of society and what places us inside or outside the boundaries of so-called normality that is so brilliantly handled. The debate between nature and nurture, about mental health and its treatment within the pages of The Man On The Middle Floor make for a frequently unsettling and always though-provoking reading.
I think some readers will be shocked and possibly offended by the frequent use of the F-word and by the sexual references, but even whilst they made me occasionally uncomfortable as a reader, I felt they did exactly what was intended. They engendered a reaction and shook me out of my complacency as a reader. In fact, so skilled is the writing that I experienced Nick’s tensions and anxieties as I read and actually loathed Karen, so that even when I understood her I couldn’t bring myself to forgive her. I actually felt the kind of uncontrollable emotions towards Karen that Nick experienced when under stress. The interconnectedness of the three main characters provides an almost claustrophobic feeling that again enhances the quality of the book. Giving Nick a first person narrative is a stroke of genius. It allows the reader to see so clearly into his mind, but also gives status to the most vulnerable and ‘abnormal’ of the characters which felt to me like Elizabeth Moore was illustrating those like Nick in society have at least equal status with everyone else, even though society may wish to treat them differently.
My heart went out to Nick completely. He reminded me of Lennie in Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and by the end of the novel I felt quite emotional about him and his life.
I’m not sure if I enjoyed reading The Man On The Middle Floor as it made me feel quite voyeuristic and troubled. Elisabeth Moore took me well out of my comfort zone and that is a very good thing. I was forced to confront my own perceptions of mental health and so-called normality. Would I recommend The Man On The Middle Floor? Absolutely. Without hesitation. I think The Man On The Middle Floor is a book we should all read and talk about.
About Elizabeth S. Moore
Elizabeth Moore has worked as a journalist since she won the Decanter Young Wine Writer of the Year at seventeen. She has written columns and articles on restaurants, politics, South Africa and all things foodie. She comes from a family that has given her a lot of writing material and is currently finishing up her second book, having written the first after completing the Faber Write a Novel course and being approached by fourteen agents after reading an excerpt of her novel to industry professionals. Elizabeth lives in London with her South African husband and has three daughters and a son as well as two lazy Labradors.
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