The Key to Death's Door by Mark Tilbury #BookReview #BlogBlitz


Would you risk your life to get justice?

Lee Hunter doesn’t have a choice when he nearly drowns after spending the night in a derelict boathouse with his best friend, Charlie Finch. After recovering from his near-death experience, Lee realises he’s part of two lives intrinsically linked by the despicable actions of one man.

Struggling against impossible odds, Lee and Charlie set out to bring this man to justice.
Will Lee be able to unlock the past and bring justice to the future?

The Key to Death’s Door is a story of sacrifice, friendship, loyalty and murder.

I first reviewed The Key to Death's Door back in 2018 and it's a book I have fond memories of because it introduced me to Mark Tilbury's writing. Mark has made the decision to self-publish his previous titles, including this one and I'm delighted to be re-sharing my review of this brilliant book today.

In some hands, a novel about somebody dying but then being sent back to the past by a mysterious light could have been a heartwarming Capraesque tale. Not in Mark Tilbury's hands however... Those of a more delicate persuasion should probably look away now because The Key to Death's Door is a dark, and harrowing read. I really don't want to say too much about the plot and risk giving anything away but what I can say is there is one particular character who is a terrifying psychopathic monster - and he holds the key to the events that connect the past and present.
There is an element of the paranormal or spiritual about The Key to Death's Door so some readers may need to put their own beliefs aside but if you love gritty, hard-hitting, no holds barred writing it's definitely worth it. It's not an easy read; the antagonist carries out some truly heinous acts and some of the abuse he perpetrates is difficult to read. The violence itself is disturbing enough but what is perhaps equally as upsetting is the psychological effect his brutality has on his victims. The fear they feel waiting for his next move and their guilt as they recognise they are powerless against him is almost palpable. You want to urge them to not give up but when their situation seems so unbearably hopeless there is little else to do but read on with an ever increasing sense of foreboding at what else is to come.
So given that it's such a dark, distressing book, it may come as some surprise when I say that in some ways it reads as a YA novel (and this is meant as a compliment, there are many brilliant YA books out there.) It would never be categorised as such of course but Mark Tilbury has captured the voices of his teenage protagonists so well. The novel is narrated in the first person by Lee and there's an authenticity to the writing which makes the relationships portrayed in the book absolutely believable. The friendship between Lee and Charlie provides some much needed humour and there are some touching moments of vulnerability and warmth that take the characters far beyond the stereotypical bantering teenagers.
The writing flows naturally throughout and though the subject matter is frequently shocking, it's a book that I was unable to put down. This is tense, compelling fiction that will evoke strong reactions but I never felt it was gratuitous. Sometimes books need to examine the worst of people to explore just what drives us at our lowest moments. The Key to Death's Door is about retribution, revenge and justice but it's also about trust and love. This was the first book I've read by Mark Tilbury - it won't be the last. (Note from 2020 me - I was right, it wasn't!)

The Key to Death's Door can be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon US. It is also available on Kindle Unlimited.

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About the Author
Mark lives in a small village in the lovely county of Cumbria, although his books are set in Oxfordshire where he was born and raised. After being widowed and raising his two daughters, Mark finally took the plunge and self-published two books on Amazon, The Revelation Room and The Eyes of the Accused. He's always had a keen interest in writing, and is extremely proud to have had seven novels published by Bloodhound Books. Now self-publishing, Mark has published The Last One To See Her and his most recent book, A Prayer For The Broken. 

When he's not writing, Mark can be found playing guitar, reading and walking.