Posted in Book Review, Books I have read, Mount TBR 2018

Sweet William – Iain Maitland

Crime Fiction

Sometimes when you have quite a few books on your TBR, many of which I have added because of the wonderful reviews my fellow bloggers have written, I don’t remember any of the details of quite why I bought them. In my defence I read many books and even more reviews of books so I can’t be expected to remember the finer details. So in short it isn’t that unusual for me to dive into a book with only a faint idea of what to expect. I can safely say, I didn’t expect what I got with this book, one that is anything other than forgettable.

Raymond Orrey has a plan. He is going to escape from the psychiatric unit, his current home to find his son William and take him away to the South of France to live a blissful life. Orrey is not mad, not like his fellow guests at the Nottinghamshire hospital, he doesn’t dribble or rock himself, he’s planned his escape, as well as he possibly can and he knows where he needs to get to. To the house in Aldeburgh where his son William is visiting with his ‘new’ parents, to attend the parade for Halloween and maybe to have a ride at the funfair. Raymond is going to take William away to a better life, with him, his father.

William is really quite small but he’s had a hell of a disrupted life in that short time and although the short break in the holiday home isn’t friction free – after all, families all have their tensions especially when more than one generation gathers at a time and his ‘grandparents’ are part of the treat. William is also diabetic and not a fan of having his blood tested for sugars.

What follows is mad. Not a politically correct word I’ll admit but the most suitable one. Reading Sweet William is a bizarre experience. Raymond Orrey gives us a blow by blow account of his escape and his thoughts. We are drawn into his world when he seems to ask advice when his plans go awry. Seeing as he didn’t really have any beyond escaping and travelling to his son, this happens frequently. Should this man run or try to blend in with the crowd? Would the police be looking for him or does he have time before they are alerted? We have the questions and then see what he chose in the next chapter – this goes on for 48 hours and is exhausting. Why? Because it pulled this reader entirely into a world where it is hard to keep reminding yourself that Raymond is mad, most likely very dangerous and it doesn’t matter how many times he tries to convince you otherwise. Of course we are never convinced by those who need to repeatedly tell us they aren’t mad but this author has written this so well that sometimes despite this, you get drawn into Raymond Orrey’s chaotic world so that when he weighs up his options you find yourself predicting which, if any, will be the most successful whilst keeping in mind the careful care needed to keep William safe and well, care I wasn’t sure his father would manage.

This is an unusual piece of crime fiction, I’m so glad I took Fiction Fan’s advice, the skill of the writer is abundantly apparent even if the title is entirely misleading, this is the darkest read I’ve unexpectedly fallen into in a long, long time! That said I can’t wait to see what this author produces next.

This is the 18th book I’ve read and reviewed as part of my Mount TBR Challenge for 2018. I am aiming to read 36 books across the year from those purchased before 1 January 2018. Sweet William was purchased on 28 December 2017 thereby qualifying by the skin of its teeth!

First Published UK: 19 October 2017
Publisher: Saraband
No of Pages: 251
Genre: Crime Fiction
Amazon UK
Amazon US


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

15 thoughts on “Sweet William – Iain Maitland

  1. I’ve been wondering about this one, Cleo. When I read about it on FictionFan’s blog, I was intrigued, and I still want to read it. It sounds, to say the very least, unusual. And I do give credit to an author who doesn’t follow a ‘regular’ recipe for writing a book, but instead, tries something different.


  2. That happens to me, too, buying books without recalling why…and then finding myself totally surprised by the journey of reading them. The character of Raymond reminds me of clients I had back in the day. Their impulsive behavior might be motivated by good desires, but their ability to carry through is totally lacking. Sounds like an interesting read.


  3. Hmmm…the getting the book, wondering why, not remembering who praised it – yes, happens all the time to me. This book – well, I’ll think about it, but I’m not immediately drawn to it. Which probably means I need to move along for now. It’s not like I don’t a jillion others to try. Truly – a jillion! Ha!


  4. I remember reading FF’s review of this and thinking what a unique read it must be-something you have of course confirmed! I’m the same way when i pick up a book as well-I know it was recommended,but I’m not sure why…or just can’t remember!


  5. Hahaha! I’m glad you enjoyed it, though “enjoy” might not be the right word! I loved the way he had me agreeing with Orrey that he had to do the maddest things – it was brilliant the way he somehow made it all seem quite reasonable… until you stopped and thought about it! 😱 It’s so dark though and even my non-maternal heart went out to poor little William. I can’t wait to see what his next book is like – though I’m a bit scared too… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds engrossing! I probably wouldn’t read something as dark as this, but I know several people who would. I’ll add this to my “gift list.”


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