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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
Jack Byrne’s suspenseful mystery novel, The Morning After, follows Vincent “Vinny” Connolly as he faces his troubled past. Growing up in Speke, a council estate in Liverpool, Vinny is not spared from the influence of the estate’s underbelly. Together with his friends Macca and Sammo, they rob a house whose occupant ends up dead. The novel moves to Vinny’s adult life where he seems to have everything together, a family and a respectable career, yet his past continues to haunt him. When Sammo shows up years later, followed by Macca, and constant threats begin to appear in Vinny’s somewhat calm life, Vinny begins to sense that everything is not as it should be. As things escalate, Vinny is forced to face the life he left behind as the UK’s political scene plays out in the background.
Set just after the Brexit vote of 2016, the background heightens the uncertainty and suspense present in Vinny’s life. The novel also parallels the main plot with historical and modern details about Liverpool and the UK’s political track. The main and supporting characters in the novel are imperfect, making them and the overall plot realistic. Vinny struggles with his role as a father and husband while trying to move forward from his challenging childhood. The book’s style gives an in-depth view of Vinny’s former life as his childhood and adult life are told side by side. The inclusion of many riveting moments in the storyline makes the novel absorbing. Realistic and captivating, The Morning After by Jack Byrne will be a rewarding read for any lover of mystery thrillers.