The Lonely Witness by William Boyle #BookReview #BlogTour

Amy was once a party girl, but now she lives a lonely life. Helping the house-bound to receive communion in the Gravesend neighbourhood of Brooklyn, she knows the community well. When a local woman goes missing, Amy senses something isn’t right. Tailing the woman’s suspicious son, she winds her way through Brooklyn’s streets. But before she can act, he is dead. Captivated by the crime she’s witnessed and the murderer himself, Amy doesn’t call the cops. Instead, she collects the weapon from the sidewalk and soon finds herself on the trail of a killer.
Powerful and evocative, The Lonely Witness brings Brooklyn to life and exposes the harsh realities of crime and punishment on the city streets.

It's such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for The Lonely Witness by William Boyle today. Many thanks to the author, No Exit Press and Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my copy of the novel.

The Lonely Witness is a relatively short read but it is packed with all the elements of a great crime story. In Amy Falconetti, William Boyle has created a fascinating, nuanced character whose response to witnessing a murder is shocking but somehow also entirely understandable; his other characters are a richly drawn study of the people of Brooklyn with the neighbourhood becoming almost a character in itself, so vividly described are Boyle's descriptions of the area, and the uncompromising, taut plot is much an exploration into change and self as it is a thriller.
Amy doesn't witness the murder until a few chapters into the book but it is immediately clear she has turned her back on her troubled past. Having found religion, she has decided to give something back and has become a Eucharistic Minister. She brings communion to the old people in the neighbourhood but more importantly, she has time for them and listens to their stories. She's the sort of upstanding citizen who upon seeing a violent crime would ordinarily try to assist the victim and summon immediate help. When she not only fails to do this but also removes the murder weapon from the scene, it suddenly becomes evident that there is more to this women and her quiet life.
Her actions spark a change in her and as she is reminded of who she once was, she begins to revisit her past. She is tortured by what she has done and yet she can't deny she also feels more excited than she has for years. Even as she realises she may now be in danger herself, she can't resist the pull of her former, more chaotic life and when her previous girlfriend, Alessandra comes back on the scene, she has to decide who the true Amy really is. The traumatic events of Amy's past have led to her seemingly trying on roles from hedonistic party girl to devout churchgoer but now she is stripped bare of the obsessions she has relied on as a form of protection and  the increasingly tense narrative is driven both by the ominous feeling that Amy is in over her head and the complexity of her character as she questions just what she could be capable of.
Although the story may be darkly intense, William Boyle's writing is evocatively poetic creating the strong sense of place that pervades the novel throughout. His unflinching descriptions of people's homes, the streets they pass through, the restaurants and bars they visit is never sentimental but still honours the strength and humour of the residents and the sense of community that is simultaneously supportive and claustrophobic.
The Lonely Witness is an edgy, contemporary story of survival and is one of the most original and riveting books I have read this year. It's billed as a sequel to Gravesend but as Amy only had a small role in that book, it can easily be enjoyed as a standalone novel - although after consuming The Lonely Witness in a day, I fully intend to read the first book too. This is noir crime fiction at its most immersive and I can't wait to read more.

The Lonely Witness is published by No Exit Press and can be purchased here. Don't forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author
William Boyle is from Brooklyn, New York. Boyle is also the author of Tout est Brisé, a novel recently released in France by Gallmeister, a book of short stories called Death Don’t Have No Mercy and the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger nominated Gravesend. He lives in Oxford, Mississippi. His third novel, A Friend is a Gift you Give Yourself, will be published by No Exit Press in 2019.
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  1. Many thanks for your Blog Tour support Karen x

  2. This sounds like my kind of book - glad I picked up your review, Karen!

    1. It is a brilliant book, thank you so much for reading my review and leaving a comment!


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