The Punishment by Paul Clayton #BookReview #BlogTour #Giveaway


What do you do when you are an ex-soap star down on your luck and running out of money?
For Daniel Maple, a chance meeting in a nightclub presents him with an offer he finds hard to refuse...
But crime makes you pay.
And someone, somewhere, wants you punished.

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for The Punishment today. Many thanks to Paul Clayton and Rachel Gilbey from Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me and for my digital copy of the novel.

A one-night stand results in an intriguing proposition for out-of-work actor, Daniel Maple when he has that slightly awkward morning after the night before conversation with Derek, the man he'd picked up in a nightclub. The chat naturally turns to what their respective jobs are and Derek casually informs Daniel that he's a burglar. Daniel is surprised and a little worried but Derek reassures him that he has no reason to be concerned as this isn't his manor. He then shocks him further by suggesting that he might be able to help Daniel out, if he's prepared to take a risk...
Daniel is obviously tempted - after all he's struggling to pay his mortgage and the job offers aren't rolling in despite his stint as resident bad boy on a soap opera. It's a fascinating premise for a thriller and I suspect many readers will wonder what they would do under similar circumstances; the robbery seems to have been planned meticulously and apparently effectively victimless. However, as Daniel sets out on his long drive to Scotland things begin to go wrong and his life quickly begins to spiral rather absurdly out of control.
As an actor, Paul Clayton really understands how to structure a story and The Punishment very cleverly has three narrative strands entitled Action, Subtext and Back Story. The Action parts of the novel follow Daniel and are written in the first person from his perspective whereas the Subtext and Back Story sections are written in the third person and are arguably the more sinister parts of the book. The Back Story begins with a young boy who witnesses something in the woods and then goes missing while the Subtext chapters follow the ruthless Toby and his deadly agenda.
As the various pieces of the jigsaw begin to slot into place, the connection between the three strands becomes clear, building towards its dramatic conclusion that sees Daniel in very real danger. The plot is compelling and well-paced but it's the characterisation and the rich seam of observant black humour which runs throughout the novel that really made The Punishment such a delightfully entertaining read. Daniel is a likeably flawed protagonist and is joined by a fabulous cast of secondary characters; the dodgy undertaker, Grayson Vardy and talent show wannabe turned soap opera star, Sylvia Twigg being my particular favourites. The dry wit and extraordinary situations that Daniel ends up in - there's a scene in a crematorium which is just wonderful from start to finish - could be described as P.G. Wodehouse meets Alan Bennett, especially with descriptions like, this, 'The customer, a woman whose silhouette suggested an overfamiliarity with pork,'
The blurb for The Punishment doesn't give much away and I'm mindful to do the same with this review but what I can say is that it's a book that exceeded any expectations I may have had and I loved every minute of it. Paul Clayton's debut is a refreshing, engaging read and I sincerely hope he writes more mysteries like this. Highly recommended.

The Punishment can be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Giveaway to Win 5 x E-copies of The Punishment (Open INT)

Please note: This giveaway is courtesy of Rachel's Random Resources and in no way the responsibility of Hair Past A Freckle.

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Paul Clayton is an actor best known for his appearances as Ian Chapman in five series of the award-winning Channel 4 comedy Peep Show and as Graham in two series of the BAFTA winning comedy Him and Her. Other credits include Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and Holby City as well as This is Alan Partridge, Doctor Who, The Crown, Vera, Wolf Hall. He is a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
His previous books are So You Want To Be A Corporate Actor? and The Working Actor and he is a regular columnist in The Stage.
.He is a proud patron of Grimm and Co, the children’s literacy charity, based in his home town of Rotherham.