All Through The Night – a fight for the truth

A little while ago I riffed on the subject of authors writing about what they know; transferring their own life experiences to the printed page. There is a flip side to this: what the hell did M. P. Wright do for a living to provide the background material for All Through The Night?
His hero is a black Barbadian immigrant to England in the 1960s and early 1970s, and he quickly becomes mixed up in a world of death, torture, child abduction and the constant menace of being chased by military and police villains, and that’s apart from the casual, violent and threatening racism he meets and has to deal with. The author is a white, middle-aged, pleasantly studious guy with a wife, two daughters and two rescue-dogs living peacefully in the middle of England!
All Through The Night is simply riveting. From the very first chapter to the final, exciting denouement, it is a book that can only be put down because Wright has a natural aptitude for capturing the rolling cadence of a gripping novel. Each paragraph is shaped and phrased, and each chapter can almost be read as a standalone, short novella, but with an intriguing and beguiling finale that invites and exhorts the reader to turn yet another page.
Wright’s first venture into thriller writing, Heartman (long-listed for the worldwide CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger last year), introduced us to his black hero Joseph Tremaine Ellington – thankfully know as JT, which shortens it considerably. A common problem with new writers is that they have put so much into Book No. 1 that they are drained of inspiration. All Through The Night is the absolute antithesis of this concept. It is better: more exciting, more enthralling, and more frightening, but mostly better written in a style that seems to state: “You, my reader, are the reason for this book; not me, the writer.”
All Through The Night engages the reader from the outset. The characters leap off the page and take on 3D existences in one’s mind. Even the villains have levels of villainy, and the sub-heroes have strata of involvement in the plot. The book tackles difficult subjects, including casual and violent racism, as well as the immigration problems and ghettoes that arose when shiploads arrived from the West Indies.
The thread of the plot is inescapable. It is a route map through the heart of the storyline as it ducks and dives, twists and turns, runs for its life and comes to a grinding halt before the abyss.
JT may have taken a contract, and ravenously devoured the seemingly carefree chunks of big money he is thrown, to find the truth, but it’s only when he finds it that he starts to run, with the truth alongside. He doesn’t know where he’s running to; he just knows that what he is running from is without doubt the loss of truth and probably his own life.

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