There’s something a bit different for you today, as I am taking part in the blog tour for The Amber Maze by Christopher Bowden, which is a contemporary mystery. I haven’t read anything like this recently so it was an enjoyable change for me.
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I tend to stick to fantasy and sci-fi (as you can no doubt tell from the majority of the reviews on here) but every now and again something very different comes along that captures my interested.
Title: The Amber Maze
Author: Christopher Bowden
Author Bio: Christopher Bowden lives in south London. The Amber Maze is the sixth of his colour-themed novels, which have been praised variously by Andrew Marr, Julian Fellowes, Sir Derek Jacobi, and Shena Mackay.
Synopsis: While staying in a Dorset cottage, Hugh Mullion finds a mysterious key down the side of an antique chair. No one can say how long the key has been there or what it opens. Hugh’s search for answers will unlock the secrets of the troubled life of a talented artist, destined to be hailed a neglected genius fifty years too late. And no secret is darker than that of The Amber Maze, from whose malign influence he never escaped.
The trail takes Hugh from Edwardian Oxfordshire to 1960s Camden Town, where the ghosts of the past are finally laid to rest.
Pages: 166 pages
Categories: Contemporary, Mystery
Publication Date: 6th September 2018
Rating: 3.5 stars
Content Warnings: n/a
Review: I feel like I should start by mentioning that as I don’t read much in the way of contemporary fiction, I have little to compare The Amber Maze to. The last contemporary I read was the A Spoke in the Wheel, which I enjoyed and drew me in because of the disability representation – you can see my review of that here. But there was something about the synopsis of The Amber Maze, which drew me in. Perhaps because I would love to find a mysterious key, secreted away somewhere – though I would wish for it to open portals to other worlds.
Nethertheless, The Amber Maze was a wonderful read, even if I didn’t really know what to expect. The mystery and the threads of the plot pulled the story along and each time I had to put the book down, I did so with reluctance as the story really captured my imagination. I preferred the first half of the book, which sees the protagonist, Hugh attempting to solve the mystery of what the key opens to the latter half of the book. The second half of the book focuses more on the retelling of the life of the key’s owner and whilst it was still, really interesting it did not capture me quite as much.
The writing is wonderful to read, there is something cozy and yet, elegant about the prose. The descriptions in the book really help to focus the imagination, and one of my favourite lines from the book is “Even in the bright sunlight of a summer’s day it looked dull and depressing, a grumpy toad of a building squatting among dark yews”. The descriptions throughout the book capture the objects and settings so perfectly.
For fans of contemporary and mystery I would recommend The Amber Maze, it was a pleasure to read, and I will be having a look at Christopher Bowden’s other, colour-themed books. If you like the sound of The Amber Maze it is available in both paperback and ebook formats over on Amazon*
I received a copy of The Amber Maze for the purpose of the blog tour, all opinions and words are my own.