Francis Benthem is a successful artist; he’s created a new life on an island in the sun. He works all night, painting the dreams of his mysterious Russian benefactor, Illy Prostakov. He writes letters to old friends and students back in cold, far away London. But now Francis Benthem is found dead. The funeral is planned and his old friend from art school arrives to finish what Benthem had started. The painting of dreams on a faraway island. But you can also paint nightmares and Illy has secrets of his own that are not ready for the light. Of promises made and broken, betrayal and murder…
The Golden Orphans offers a new twist on the literary thriller.
|damppebbles blog tours||ebook||155||Parthian Books||Thriller||June 30th, 2018|
*Many thanks to Emma @ damppebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for this surprise of a book with an honest review*
The Golden Orphans really did take me by surprise. I kind of knew what to expect by looking at the cover and the blurb but I was quite wrong with my predictions. This is the winning formula!
The story takes place in Cyprus and the way the author has set the scene is glorious. The Cypriot lifestyle, the island’s history, the dodgy Russians, the abandoned city of Famagusta, the artistic element, how the conflicts that the characters deal with are instantly visible and palpable.
These guys you see walking around with their chests puffed out, looking all mean and dangerous, they all go home and cry, wanking into a watermelon. It’s all children’s games, and normal people like you and me get caught up in it, because like toddlers they have managed to make everything about them.
How a BIG story like this fit into 155 pages whilst not impacting on the wonderful prose only demonstrates Raymond’s skillful penmanship! In essence The Goldern Orphans is a straight-foward story that looks at the events over a matter of days, the characters and plentiful secrets make it for a thrilling read.
I have to admit, I scoffed and muttered ‘Of course!’ when the Russian guy was yet again the baddie… I actually joke with my husband now, with sarcasm- Oh, look we’ve run out of milk! The Russians did it! I’m really so over the Russian/Eastern European guys being the baddies. It’s a stereotype I really don’t like. Maybe because I’m Eastern European myself. But, I didn’t take this stereotype – I never do- as an insult. It simply takes away the ‘fresh’ element in books sometimes…
The book starts off with one of the strangest funerals and introduces mystery from the get go. I couldn’t help but keep turning the pages. As I got to know Francis following his death through the eyes of his ex-student, I found myself thinking- Now, there is an interesting guy. But Francis had got himself mixed in with the aforementioned Russian. And now Francis was dead, the Russian has a need to replace him… to do what? I tell you not because it’s one of the more unique reasons! They do say there’s method in madness!
Behind the front of laid back and sunny Cypriot way of life, secrets are buzzing away waiting to interrupt the daily routine and everyone seems to be at work for things to go kaboom. As the story came to conclusion, Raymond delivered revelation after revelation and the final twist made thr air crackle with electricity- ohhh!
Would I recommend it? Absolutely I would. It’s a few hours well spent!
You’re not into thrillers? Doesn’t matter! It’s not at all graphic with endless bloodshed or detailed torture. The Golden Orphans is more of a ‘still waters run deep’ kind of book with enjoyable prose and refined taste.
About the Author:
Gary Raymond is a novelist, critic, editor and broadcaster. He is the presenter of BBC Radio Wales’, The Review Show, and is one of the founding editors of Wales Arts Review.
He is the author of two novels, The Golden Orphans (Parthian, 2018) and For Those Who Come After (Parthian, 2015). He is a widely published critic and cultural commentator.