I’m absolutely thrilled to be a host for Tom Bale’s All Fall Down blog tour today. Anyone who reads my blog will know how much I love Tom’s books. Tom has kindly answered a few brief questions about All Fall Down and I am sharing my review. Enjoy!
You tried to save a life. Now you’re fighting to save your own.
It’s the perfect Sunday. Summer sunshine, a barbecue with the kids.
But a knock on the garden gate and two words, ‘HELP ME’, changes everything.
When loving parents Rob and Wendy Turner let a dying man into their home, and do their best to help him, they think pure chance led him to their house. But soon their lives are threatened in ways they could never have imagined … and then the first anonymous letter arrives, forcing them to question all they know.
Someone is watching.
Someone is waiting.
They will stop at nothing.
Rob and Wendy will do anything to keep their family safe, but their children Georgia, Josh and Evan are teenagers now, with their own hidden lives.
Everyone has secrets, but how can you save your family, if you don’t really know them?
Tom Bale has done it again with another cracking thriller!!! All Fall Down was one of my highly anticipated reads of 2016 and oh boy did it deliver!
Like one of those cartoon bombs being set off, it starts with a spark when the dying man lands outside the Turner’s gate, simmers as the spark makes it’s way to the bomb, totally getting under your skin until BOOM! It hits the dynamite, causing an explosion of terror!
It has a different pace to the total adrenaline rush that is See How They Run, however this is in no way a criticism. Secrets, suspicion, paranoia and a totally unexpected outcome is the order of the day in All Fall Down.
Tom has a talent for taking an ordinary, mundane event and making it totally chilling. He makes you view the ordinary in a different way and think ’oh my God, that could really happen!’ I will certainly think twice now before helping a stranger in distress! The way Tom intersperses descriptions of the ordinary while a scary, extraordinary event is taking place, keeps you grounded in reality making the event all the more frightening.
A family barbecue ends up turning the Turner family’s world totally upside down. It’s not everyday a dying man turns up outside your garden gate and what follows is a twisting, turning tale that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
The Turners are an ordinary family, but they are also a fragmented family, hiding secrets that are forced into the light of day following that one momentous event. Throughout I was not sure who could be trusted, and as the family’s secrets are slowly revealed as the story progresses, I had my doubts about everybody at various points. I’m not sure I can say that I liked any of the characters, but regardless I found myself rooting from them.
Family, in the form of the natural family and other kinds of what could be described as a family, are at the centre of this novel along with secrets and lies. All Fall Down, however, is not like the recent thrillers in which the family takes the centre stage, it is uniquely different.
Narrated in third person, largely through the perspective of Rob, we get to know him quite well as his private thoughts and reactions about what is going on are revealed to us, the reader. There is also an unknown voice that makes an infrequent appearance. The voice is unnerving but at the same time talks sense in it’s views on modern society which makes it all the more intriguing.
I was not expecting All Fall Down to turn out the way it does at all. I am not going to say anything more on this as I don’t want to spoil anything, but it is different, refreshing and interesting.
A fantastic read which keeps Tom up there among my list of favourite thriller writers. All Fall Down grabbed hold of me, gave me the heebie-jeebies and made me impossible to tear away from my Kindle for a whole weekend!
A huge thank you to Tom Bale and Bookouture for the advance copy in exchange for my review and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.
Published 1 September 2016 by Bookouture.
You can get your copy here –
1. How did you find the writing process for All Fall Down? Did it differ from See How They Run?
It didn’t differ greatly, but it was quite a headache at times. I struggled with the structure while writing the first draft, to the point where I’d written seventy thousand words and still wasn’t at what I felt would be the mid-point of the story. Thanks to a sublime suggestion from my editor, Keshini, I removed certain strands of the narrative (amounting to thirty thousand words) and the structure immediately made sense. The ending stumped me for a long time as well – without wanting to give anything away, the breakthrough came when I realised that the story had to continue beyond the point where I’d assumed it would conclude. With that, a lot of other things fell into place, and I have to admit I’m very pleased with the ending.
2. Family, both in the sense of natural family and a group of people who are unrelated but act as a kind of family, are, for me, central themes in All Fall Down, where did the idea come from for this?
It seems to be quite an important theme in my work. I sometimes find it amusing that many novels, particularly in the crime and thriller genre, feature lead characters who have no extended family and seem to exist in moody, drink-sodden isolation. I guess I’m really lucky, because for me parents, grandparents, siblings, in-laws and so on have always played a big part in my life, so it feels natural to reflect that in my fiction. And after writing about a young couple in See How They Run, it was a very deliberate choice to focus on a more mature relationship in All Fall Down, and to examine the stresses and complications of having grown-up children. I also wanted to contrast the unity of the Turners – despite their various secrets – with the fact that the Brood are mostly estranged from their families, and as a result have formed a warped community of their own.
3. Did you do any research for All Fall Down and if so what form did this take?
I read up on cults, and two books in particular were fascinating and very informative – a biography of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn, and a book on ‘Charlatan Messiahs’ by Colin Wilson. For Wendy’s background in social work, I spoke to a couple of good friends of mine who have years of experience in the field (though I always need to stress that any errors or bending of the facts is down to me, not them!) Similarly, a friendly local plumber told me about his time working for a firm like Rob’s. In terms of policing, there wasn’t a lot I needed, which was fortunate because my request to Hampshire police for a bit of assistance was declined on the grounds that no one could spare the time! Lastly – and this is by far the most enjoyable part of job – I made various trips out to mooch around Petersfield, Canterbury and the wild coast of north Norfolk (and here I need to recommend a fabulous B&B and gastropub, The Orange Tree in Thornham!)
4. How do you spend publication days? Do you do anything special to celebrate?
I can’t say that I do. When I was published previously, there was very little to denote the fact that it was publication day – and venturing out to bookshops only to find the stock hadn’t yet arrived or been placed on the shelf was a somewhat dispiriting experience which happened to me more than once. With Bookouture the huge difference is the level of interest that they generate among the wonderful online world of readers and bloggers, so for that reason publication day is now something very special, because it’s shared with a whole community. As a result I’ll probably be online for much of the day, but I daresay there will be a beer or two – or even a glass of champagne – in the evening.
5. Describe All Fall Down in five words!
Family ties can be deadly.
About Tom Bale
Tom Bale decided that he wanted to be an author from the age of seven but, after another career got in the way, it wasn’t until much later that his dream was fulfilled. After several books with Random House, Tom signed with Bookouture for two stunning ‘everyman’ thrillers.
A huge thank you to Tom for answering my questions and to him and Bookouture for the opportunity to read and review All Fall Down and inviting me to be part of the blog tour! Catch the other great bloggers on the rest of the tour.