How does one give perspective to the tricky situations encountered during life’s meandering journey? Simple - adopt a term that separates lesser dilemmas from the chill touch of fate’s black hand. And where inevitably there is turmoil, will it be possible to prevail and come out the other side all the stronger, or will nothing ever be the same? Is it possible to survive at all? Author John Michell takes readers on a rollicking ride as his lead character Harold Bradshaw seeks answers to these questions and more in the scintillating, edge of your seat thriller, Dublin Zoo (Inhouse Publishing, February 4, 2020).
Dublin Zoo is composed of three parts and spans the period from the outbreak of World War I until the early years of World War II. Distinguishing Dublin Zoo from many other books, Michell creatively manipulates selected historical events of the era to fit into Harold Bradshaw’s past and present. The result is that, so adapted, these events become part of the plot, making for a gripping and compelling story.
Readers are first introduced to Harold, his parents Albert and Rita, and their impoverished home in the northeast English midlands. In classic rags to riches to rags storytelling, Albert builds a business empire only for it to be wounded in 1925 and then crushed four years later by the Great Depression. When Rita is subsequently murdered, and the broken-hearted Albert commits suicide, Harold, by then nineteen, takes revenge on those responsible.
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He flees to London, beginning the book’s second act. Early into the young Harold’s new life, he falls in love with a woman in her thirties named Katrina. But the affair ends when Harold is convicted of the murder of two mafia soldiers. The final act takes place with the onset of World War II when Harold is released from prison into the clutches of a secretive British unit. He is and press-ganged into undertaking a dangerous clandestine mission in France revolving around issues to do with the French Resistance and a paramount British strategic objective.
Michell seamlessly weaves together the three parts of the compelling story that is Harold Bradshaw’s life and times, employing a conversational and engaging writing style. He portrays Harold as a decent and sensitive young man of high intelligence, yet one born with the capacity to calmly and calculatedly inflict violence. The book’s gripping finale plays out in the French city of Marseille in a stunning characterization of the Dublin Zoo title.
But Dublin Zoo is not just about family travails, love, and war. Instead, it describes the everyday tale of conflict between men, man against nature, and man against himself. These are the issues with which Harold ultimately struggles as he seeks to be at peace with who he is and what he’s done.
“Dublin Zoo underlines how human beings will always feel the need for love, and how sometimes this makes them do things they wouldn’t usually do, good and bad,” says Michell. “The novel is full of mystery, intrigue, and romance, and has an overall message that fundamentally human beings will never change - no matter how much the world evolves around them.”
About the Book
Paperback: 457 pages
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
About the Author
John Michell is now a full-time writer after serving 33 years as an Australian diplomat from 1979-2012. In aggregate, he spent 21 years abroad while in diplomatic service. Michell is also a Juris Doctor who remains admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory. Since 2017, he has explored several different writing options, with Dublin Zoo emerging as his debut book. Michell currently resides in Brisbane, Australia. Visit his website for more information, http://johnmichell.mystrikingly.com.
(Content for this review provided by Smith Publicity)