Book Reviews

Take Off Your Masks: The Man With No Face by Peter May @authorpetermay @QuercusFiction @riverrunbooks

My deepest apologies for sending this review so late. Personal emergencies and blabla. But here it is!

I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank the publisher and Agnes for inviting me to be part of this blog tour!

the man with no faceTitle: The Man With No Face
Author: Peter May
Publisher: Riverrun
Date of publication: 10th January 2019
Format: uncorrected bound copy
Number of pages: 406

Set amidst the political and social turmoil of the 1970s, in Brussels, the beating heart of the new Europe to which, at that time, Britain had just committed itself, The Man With No Face follows the story of a high-ranking member of the British government who is murdered, witnessed only by an autistic child with extraordinary artistic ability. Her only means of communicating what she sees is by drawing the killer. Interrupted before completing the details of the face, she cannot be persuaded to finish it. But can the killer afford to take the risk that she won’t?


Peter May’s books are like good Scotch — strong, intense in colour and taste. It is a delight to your eyes and a gift to your mind. Well, I don’t drink Scotch but that’s how I see it, and how Mr May’s novel make me feel. The Man With No Face is no exception. I loved the idea of republishing one of Mr May’s earlier work, and this revised version is a success!

I love novels set in our time. I barely remember a time without a phone, the Internet, all those things that have shaped my life and the world, for the better and for the worst. But I left it all behind as soon as I opened this latest novel from Peter May.

The 70s. Edinburgh, Brussels, London. Like a door to another world (or a Tardis), the pages transported me to a time where things were different. The perfect descriptions of each setting had me fell the rain on my face, the wind in my hair, and the adrenaline in my blood. To my opinion, Peter May’s novels don’t belong to the explosive action category. The action is everywhere, though. In his character’s brain, in their actions and reactions. In the writing’s pace speeding up before letting you take a break. Unless you’re a spy or a serial killer, that’s how it goes. You don’t go running from page one to page four hundred. The chapters in The Man With No Face are waves. The perfect combination of words setting in motion a movie. This one in black and white (I know TV had colours but let it go!). A retro style that I relished. My imagination took me down narrow roads, with people wearing trench coats passing by, smoked-filled cafés and dark corners. In a nutshell, this book is a jump in time, and not just because of the magnificent style the author uses to take you to a period you weren’t born. Details of political knots and social turmoil give the reader a stronger sense of setting, without ever feeling like you’re reading a history book. Bookish gods know I would have DNFed it had it been the case!

No, The Man With No Face, with its mysterious title and beautiful cover, is a cleverly quiet tale of lives in 1979, with everything we knew at that time, and everything we didn’t.

Old time and politics. A match? YES! After several chapters setting the tone of the novel following the steps of investigative journalist Bannerman, blood gets spilled. Journalism and government blood. Not a good mix if you want my opinion! It’s bound to make a lot of noise. But poor Brannerman was only in the European capital to dig up dirt… Only to find himself at the centre of an intricate web of secrecy and conspiracies. Human, accurate, and dirty indeed, this investigation brings the best of our main character and fully explores a world of scoops, money and corruption.

A killer with more than one face… A cold heart, a conniving mind, and something more. One of my favourite villains!

My biggest surprise was to find myself as drawn to the extra given by the author as I was to the case. Autism is still being researched these days, but it is nothing compared to what we knew back in the 70s. Tania touched my heart thanks to the brilliant portrayal made by Peter May. I was blown away that he chose to include such an element within the story, and the case itself, and really happy it didn’t use it as a rushed too for the sake of a hint or lead to help the main character on his chase. In a blurry but awesome way, we get into Tania’s head in the hardest and strongest way. I dare you not to react to this protagonist. Brannerman doesn’t escape it either and the relationship between them made my heart ache and burn.

To think that many things in this novel have been inspired by real events makes it even better. I like a dose of authenticity around the stories!

So many things happen in The Man With No Face it would not be doing you a favour to say more. Just now that you’re in fantastic hands with Peter May, and that this novel is pure delight. A powerful investigation, a seasoned but flawed journalist, and the shape of international politics in the background. Grab your hat, your red lipstick, and get ready for a superb and engaging mystery.

You can order your copy here!

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peter author photo 2017

Peter May was an award-winning journalist at the age of just twenty-one. He left newspapers for television and screenwriting, creating three prime-time British drama series and accruing more than 1,000 television credits. He is published in 32 languages and has sold several million copies worldwide as well as winning numerous awards. His last novel I’ll Keep You Safe (2018) was no.1 in The Times book charts and his new novel The Man With No Face is due to come out in January 2019. In recent years he won the Best Crime Novel Award for The Blackhouse at Bouchercon in the US, Entry Island won the Deanston Crime Book of the Year and Specsavers ITV3 Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read Award.  See for more details. Or follow him at @authorpetermay



20 thoughts on “Take Off Your Masks: The Man With No Face by Peter May @authorpetermay @QuercusFiction @riverrunbooks”

  1. I love the scotch analogy and the 70s timeline in the story sounds do good.I like that the author was able to take you back to that timeperiod. Definitely intrigued.Great review.


  2. As I started the blurb of this, I wasn’t too gripped by it……until you mentioned the autistic artist! As you know I work with autistic children and the way their minds work fasinates me. For that reason, I think I would love the book, and especially as it gave your heart the feels.
    Amanda xx


  3. Every time I read your reviews, I want to pick up the books you recommend immediately… And then I remember that I don’t enjoy thrillers that much x) This one looks amazing though! Keep the reviews coming 😉


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