Researching the family tree is another addiction of mine but I have never succumbed to the temptation to take a DNA test to make this easier for fear of the unknown. The blurb of Don’t Ask by Paul Carroll tapped into this fear so I was excited when invited to the tour by Random Things Tours.
Book Review: Don’t Ask by Paul Carroll
Title: Don’t Ask
Author: Paul Carroll
Publisher: Matador books
Genre: Adult fiction
Release date: 24th March 2021
A DNA ancestry test opens up a Pandora’s Box of secrets.
When Elsa Watson takes a DNA ancestry test out of idle curiosity she little imagines the devastating consequences she is about to unleash.
Two families become reluctantly entwined as inconvenient truths and long suppressed memories resurface.
A #whodunnit with a difference, Don’t Ask visits the glam rock Seventies, Britpop, Operation Yewtree and #metoo within its alternating past and present chapter structure.
This novel is a warning to those embarking on taking a DNA test, you never know what you may find and it studies the implications on multiple generations when new relatives are discovered. Elsa takes the test on a whim and finds she is connected to the family of Chaz, an ex pop star. She is a complex character and is the driving force of the novel but it is more Chaz’s tale and how his music career affected his life and family. It hops through time which confused me at the start and chapter titles may have helped but the clever prompts using music and fashion showed the way. The music scene chapters were riveting and were brought to life with egotistical characters and description.
I enjoyed this well written book and needed to know how the facts and character’s history threaded together when Chaz’s personality clashed with the possibility being shown. It covers many issues sensitively and includes mental health, drug abuse and the Yewtree investigations into historical sexual abuse.
I never would have imagined the ending which is always good.
Would I recommend?
Yes, it’s refreshingly different novel on a topic I’ve not read before. The issues it covers are on trend and gave me plenty to think about. It would work well as a book club read because there is much to discuss and debate over a glass of wine. It would also work well on screen.
Paul Carroll has been drawn to ink and the written word since launching a rock fanzine in his late teens.
Born and bred in Leeds, Paul crossed the Pennines in the mid-70s to study English Language and English Literature at the University of Manchester.
Chasing a job in journalism he stumbled into the world of PR and ten years after starting his career set up his own PR consultancy, Communique PR, in Manchester.
There he worked on many well-known brands including Boddingtons, Heineken, Thorntons Chocolate, Chicago Town Pizza, Big D peanuts, Co-op Funerals and Manchester Airport.
These days, Paul concentrates on his writing.
Paul’s books are full of dark humour and satirical takes. His writing has been compared to that of Ben Elton, Nick Hornby and Jonathan Coe in tackling serious contemporary issues in a highly engaging and entertaining way.
Don’t Ask (Matador 2021) is Paul Carroll’s fourth novel, following A Matter of Life and Death (Matador, 2012), Written Off (Matador, 2016), and Trouble Brewing (Matador, 2017).
Thank you Random Things Tours and Matador books for providing an advanced copy to review and give my honest opinion.
Hope you all have a lovely bank holiday!
Stay safe and happy reading!