Source: Review copy
Publication: 15 September 2022 from Macmillan
My thanks to Macmillan for an advance copy for review
David Asha wants to tell you a story about three people:
Elliott Asha, his son, broken by a loss that will redeem him.
Ben Elmys, a surrogate father and David’s trusted friend, a man who might also be a murderer.
Harriet Kealty, a retired detective searching for answers to three mysterious deaths, while also investigating a man who might turn out to be the love of her life.
Every word David tells you is true, but you will think it fiction . . .
Adam Hamdy has delivered something of a game changer with The Other Side of Night. I absolutely loved it. It is a beautifully told story told with a great deal of heart. A tale of love, loss, grief and redemption, it is also a brilliantly constructed story that will keep you fixed to the page as your brain tries to process all the devious ways in which Adam Hamdy’s mind works and follow the immense journey that his story takes you on.
It’s best to just let this story guide you as you read. You may have an inkling of where it is going, but even then you won’t fully get the picture until you’ve read to the end.
David Asha begins this story. A writer, he relates the story of how he lost his son, Elliot. It is a story of profound loss and a clearly emotional Asha blames Harriet Kealty for what happened. Harriet Kealty lost her job as a police officer, after the man who attacked her partner died and she could not prove she was not responsible.
Isolated and lonely, she happens upon Ben Elmys and immediately the two have amazing chemistry. But although Ben seems as smitten as Harriet, writing poetry for her, he nevertheless abruptly cuts contact after only a few dates and Harriet thinks she’ll never really get over Ben, who seemed such a good fit for her. She doesn’t understand why Ben will not discuss it.
Months later she meets Ben again in very different circumstances. She’s been following a slim lead after discovering a message written in a second hand book she found in a bookshop. Her search takes her to our first narrator, scientist David Asha, who disappeared after the death of his wife from cancer, in a presumed suicide, leaving behind the couple’s only son, Elliot.
Elliot has a guardian now and that is none other than the Asha’s family friend, Ben Elmys. Though the unmistakeable chemistry between them is still present, Harriet cannot help but think that Ben is implicated in the deaths of the Ashas.
The reader then moves back and forwards in a moving timeline story in which information is provided in the form of transcripts, letters and from the perspective of an unnamed narrator.
Beautifully written this book is a mystery, a thriller and a love story, wrapped up in an enigma. It’s the kind of book where you just have to go with the flow and let the power of the story telling and the emotion of the characters take you where they will.
Verdict: A fabulous twisted and poignant story to immerse yourself in and one that will keep your brain alight as it confounds your expectations and delights your senses. Adam Hamdy’s prose is warm and velvet like rich melted chocolate and the emotional quotient is high enough to massage your tired heart back to life. There’s a lot going on in the extraordinary The Other Side of Night and it’s all mind-bendingly good.
British author and screenwriter Adam Hamdy works with studios and production companies on both sides of the Atlantic. He is the author of Black 13, a Scott Pearce novel, and the Pendulum trilogy, an epic series of conspiracy thriller novels. James Patterson described Pendulum as ‘one of the best thrillers of the year’, and the novel was a finalist for the Glass Bell Award for contemporary fiction. Pendulum was chosen as book of the month by Goldsboro Books and was selected for BBC Radio 2 Book Club. Prior to embarking on his writing career, Adam was a strategy consultant and advised global businesses in the medical systems, robotics, technology and financial services sectors.