What is the definition of a great book? Trick question; there are many definitions. For me, one definition is that a great book is a book that leaves you thinking about it long after you turned the last page. Not every book sticks in your mind like this but I have found one for you that will.
The Man on the Middle Floor by Elizabeth S. Moore has its centre point in the middle of London, in a three-flat house where the residents are strangers to each other. Tam lives on the ground floor and is an ex-cop currently living in grime and self-pity. Nick, a young man with Asperger’s lives on the middle floor and organises his life around a series of lists. Karen is on the top floor and is a doctor who spends her time researching autism. Suddenly, these strangers are connected when a murder and the man on the middle floor bring them together.
The Man on the Middle Floor has three main characters and the overall story is told from each of their viewpoints via alternating chapters. However, I felt that the book is really about Nick, which is not a bad thing as he is no doubt the most interesting of the three. Nick, Tam and Karen are very different people but it is apparent from the beginning how their lives will become intertwined. You see, we already know from the cover that there will be two murders and it is these murders that bind everything together. That is because this story is not really about the murders but what they bring to light in the characters.
This is a dark book. It zones in on taboo subjects like child abuse and necrophilia but also subjects that are less taboo, but ones which we don’t understand enough, such as mental health. I can’t say if what the author wrote about Asperger’s is true because I am one of those people who really need to learn more about the syndrome. Despite not knowing enough, how Nick is portrayed didn’t sit well with me. I would like to see more characters with mental illnesses who aren’t so stereotypical.
The darkness of the story is portrayed well through the characters. None of the characters were in any way likeable but they were very well-developed. Quite like Moore’s writing style, which is to the point and suits the flow and genre of this book. At the same time, there are some disturbing scenes in this book so if you are easily triggered by any of the topics I’ve mentioned, then you need to really prepare before picking up a copy.
Overall, I quite enjoyed The Man on the Middle Floor, even if it feels strange to say I liked something with such hard-core issues at the forefront. I know this is a story that will linger with me for a long time. So, if this is your definition of a great book, don’t hesitate in nabbing yourself a copy.
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.