Book Review: BLOQ by Alan Jones

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Title - BLOQ
Author - Alan Jones
Publication Date - April 1st 2016
Publisher - Alisa Publishing
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via author)
Pages - 300

Glasgow man Bill Ingram waits in the city's Central Station to meet his daughter, returning home from London for Christmas. When the last train pulls in, and she doesn't get off it, he makes a desperate overnight dash to find out why. His search takes for her takes over his life, costing him his job and, as he withdraws from home, family and friends, he finds himself alone, despairing of ever seeing her again.

Seeing as I'm now venturing further and further when it comes to stepping out of my usual genre-related comfort zone, I was thoroughly excited to find a review request from Alan Jones in my inbox. Right now, I am loving gritty, hard-hitting crime novels, and so BLOQ fell right into that category. After a swift skim of the blurb, I couldn't wait to begin this book. A missing daughter. A father setting out on his own to find her. It was pulse-raising, painful and powerful. A novel of determination, love and how far a person will go to help those they love dearest.

Once Bloq was sitting comfortably on my Kindle, I decided that I'd read the first chapter, just to give myself a little taste of what lay ahead. What actually happened was me, reading way past midnight, and picking up again immediately when I woke up the next day. It wasn't long after that I finished the book completely and finally felt able to draw breath. Rather than sticking to just that "one chapter", once I'd got started, I didn't want to put this book down.

The author, Alan Jones, reels his reader in straight away. It becomes painfully obvious, while Bill stands on the platform on Christmas Eve waiting for his daughter, Carol, to arrive, that she's not going to get off the intended train, nor the next one, nor the next one. She's missing, and hasn't arrived when she said she would. If anyone knows Carol, then that person is her father, Bill. He knows, for instance, that if anything had cropped up to perhaps keep Carol back for an extra couple of hours/days, then she'd let her father know. She's always been the same. And it is this knowledge of his daughter's character that sets Bill's gradually mounting panic into overdrive, so much so that he can't stop himself from packing his bags, jumping in the car and racing to London to see where she is. And this, my lovely bookish friends, is where the story really begins to pack a punch.

One thing I couldn't get enough of throughout this novel were the alternating chapters, switching between Bill in the present day, and Carol in the past, leading up to the moment of when she is supposed to arrive home to spend Christmas with her father. I have to say, my intrigue swept me right the way through this book. I was desperate to find out what had happened to Carol within those months previous to her not turning up at the station. Bit by bit, her life, which Bill really don't know all too much about, began to slot into place and the dangers I sensed closed in. Carol's life took a turn for the worst that she hadn't seen coming. Alan Jones achieved a spectacular job of the London nightclub scene, writing so brilliantly I felt claustrophobic almost. There was a certain sense of foreboding whenever I found myself back in a chapter focusing on Carol. It was clear that something was going to happen. After all, this would explain perfectly why she hadn't turned up. It was a waiting game, dark and dangerous, yet Carol had no idea of what she'd got herself involved in. I really couldn't wait for Bill to arrive, and I hoped that it wasn't too late.

Tense and fast-paced, I continued to turn those pages. Clues were left behind in Carol's wake as to where she was, and with the help of a surprising friend in his time of need, Bill was fuelled with the fire of a desperate father and stormed onwards. My heart thumped, and with my breath held, I reached each chapter hoping that it would be 'the one.' The one where he'd find Carol, the one where he'd whisk her home to safety. I refuse to give any spoilers so I won't say anymore, but boy was it hard not to skip the pages and rush forward to finally get my answers. Excruciatingly hard, in fact.

I will finish this review by saying I was a bit dubious about whether I'd enjoy this book, but I am so glad Alan Jones took the time to contact me about reading and reviewing BLOQ. It was thrilling, sharp, and full of danger. And as for the ending? Wow. Absolutely spot-on. I really don't think the author could have ended this novel in a more powerful way.

Becca's Books is awarding BLOQ by Alan Jones with five of my bookish stars. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for more from Alan Jones in the future. I couldn't take my eyes off this one.


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