Toady I am honoured to be taking part in the blog tour for Matty Brolly’s latest psychological thriller The Controller. Buckle up your seat belts kids, and keep all hands and feet inside the vehicle, as Lynch and Rose are about to take you on one wild ride.
Title: The Controller
Author: Matt Brolly
Publisher: Oblong Books
Publication Date: May 24, 2019
Genre: Fiction, Crime Fiction, Thriller, Psychological Thriller
My Rating: 5/ 5
From the bestselling author of the acclaimed DCI Lambert series comes The Controller, a gripping serial killer thriller introducing Sam Lynch and Special Agent Sandra Rose.
It is six years since special agent Samuel Lynch left the FBI following the disappearance of his son, Daniel. Lynch believes an underground organisation known as The Railroad is responsible and has never stopped searching.
When Special Agent Sandra Rose investigates a house invasion gone wrong, she discovers the assailant has the legendary, and infamous, Railroad tattoo carved onto his back and he claims to know Daniel’s whereabouts.
Rose draws Lynch in to her case, and together they become embroiled in an unparalleled world of violence and evil.
It seems that to see his son again, Lynch will have to confront his greatest fear and face the ultimate test: an encounter with the Railroad’s enigmatic and deadly leader, The Controller.
This baby is all action from the word go, starting with Lynch’s unceremonious removal from his apparent in the opening pages to a quadruple homicide, and then from a dark-ops compound invasion to parallel investigations into a clandestine criminal organization known as the Railroad, The Controller is all action and no filler – steak with a side of steak my friends, you can forget the veg. That’s not to say that it’s not loaded with strong and compelling characters, because it is, but rather that the details of Sandra Rose and Samuel Lynch are integrated into the thick of action adding some depth and feeling to the abundance of adrenaline.
And speaking of Rose and Lynch, there is nothing I love more in an investigative thriller than when the lead investigator is genuinely committed to their cause, so much so that their actions are basically criminal. So you can imagine my delight in the fact Lynch and Rose offer a double dose of dubious determination. Both are chasing down the same big bad with some very different motivations, and because their approaches are so different from one another there’s almost no overlap between their journeys or the challenges encountered. The result is that their stories always run in tandem with one another and offer a carefully curated selection of sub-plots that complement rather than detract from the main action. My only real beef is that we didn’t get to see more of Sam’s ex, Sally, as they obviously shared a defining experience together. However, I have my fingers crossed that this is the first in a new series and they her character will some further development and resolution later down the line.
With Lynch’s broken family and unsealing grief or Rose’s ailing mother and lonely dedication to her job there was so much potential this to read like a sob story. And yet Brolly’s writing never strays into the woe-is-me territory. Instead both of our leads have taken their knocks, stood back up, and transformed into some serious badasses – maybe poor decision makers (who agrees to meet with a known serial killer without notifying ANYONE?!) but definitely badass.
I really appreciated Rose’s persistence to follow the investigation where it needed to go and not where her superiors thought that it could be neatly bundled up, and Lynch’s determination not to let his son’s disappearance be added to the ranks of unsolved abductions. It really highlights how pressure from above, limited resources, or even the denial of inconvenient truths can shape not only the outcome of events, but also how facts and occurrences are packaged and presented to the world. Granted, there are times where The Controller borders on full-on conspiracy theory and cover-up territory, but everything is so well put together that it leave you guessing whether or Miller is just a difficult boss or actually stuck in the thick of it.
I enjoyed the premise of all these disappearances being linked to railroad tracks and that a larger organization was responsible for coordinating the abductions. It’s a little extreme, but not so much so that your won’t be able to stop yourself from having a few ‘I wonder…” moments. And while I pitied the treatment Lynch received while he was working for the bureau, his persistence paid off in the way that only a true David vs. Goliath story can. It just goes to show that all it takes is one determined person who refuses to give up, and eventually event the toughest nut can be cracked.
They do not lie when they say The Controller is a psychological thriller, so be prepared to be taken on a wild ride. The mystery is deep, layered, and borderline conspiratorial and just the type of crazy that will keep the pages turning until the wee hours of the morning. The Controller is a psychotic mastermind who think he’s above his own game and will stop at nothing when it comes to toying with his favourite prey. Be prepared to double guess everything… and trust no one.
Would I recommend this book? Without question! It’s fast-paced, riveting, and completely unpredictable. Read it crime lovers, it’ll be a better decision than any Lynch will ever make.
About The Author
Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt Brolly completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University. He is the bestselling author of the DCI Lambert crime novels, Dead Eyed, Dead Lucky and Dead Embers. The fourth in the series, Dead Time, was released by Canelo in May 2018 and a prequel, Dead Water, will be published in September 2019. In 2020 the first of a new crime series set in the West Country of the UK will be released by Thomas and Mercer (Amazon Publishing).
The Controller, released in May 2019, is the first of a new thriller series set in Texas. Matt also writes children’s books as M.J. Brolly. His first children’s book, The Sleeping Bug, was released by Oblong Books in December 2018. Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children. You can find out more about Matt at his website MattBrolly.co.uk or by following him on twitter: @MattBrollyUK
Twitter: https://twitter.com/MattBrollyUK @MattBrollyUK
Many thanks to Emma Welton at Damppebbles Blog Tours for inviting me to join in this tour and for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.