Margaret von Klemperer
1 minute read
1 Feb 2008
00:00

A world of thugs and violence

Margaret von Klemperer

MARGARET VON KLEMPERER reviews A Blow to the Heart by Marcel Theroux. Faber & Faber.

A comfortable life comes to a shattering halt when Daisy’s doctor husband is killed in a stupid, random act of street violence. Shortly thereafter, she loses their unborn child. And Daisy and her world start to unravel as she obsesses about her husband’s killer.

Marcel Theroux, son of Paul, has written a study of hatred and revenge in the form of a thriller. When the young killer is released from his short jail term, Daisy tracks him down. He is now an up-and-coming boxer and Daisy longs to see him down, out and humiliated, or worse. So she plunges herself into the world of boxing.

Theroux’s depiction of a world of thugs, crooked doctors, professional losers and decent men trying to get by is compelling, and as someone who knows nothing about the subject, I can only presume it is accurate. It provides a fitting backdrop to Daisy’s anger, and highlights her inability to remain in control once she is involved with people for whom revenge is nothing new.

A Blow to the Heart is peopled with interesting and believable characters and, as a good thriller should, keeps the reader engrossed with plot twists and unexpected events. Perhaps the pace is a little too brisk, even jerky as Theroux moves between Daisy’s old and new worlds, but it is still a fascinating study of the bitterness of revenge and its results.