#BookReview by Lou – The Ruins by Mat Osman @matosman #TheRuins #Fiction #Music

The Ruins
By Mat Osman

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Ruins embodies music, murder and attitude! It’s one for the music lovers with all the music references and the darker side to this business and for those who like murder mysteries and intrigue. I bought The Ruins after Mat Osman started to follow me on Twitter, to which I followed him back, also would be a bit churlish not to as I review his brother’s books. He is the younger brother of Richard Osman and is best known as the bassist in the rock band – Suede and for appearing on popular tv programmes, such as 8 out of 10 Cats. 
Follow down to discover the blurb and my review.

The Ruins


An extraordinary novel about the ubiquitous mysteries of family, memory and music.

London, 2010: Icelandic volcanoes have the city in gridlock, banks topple like dominoes and Brandon Kussgarten has been shot dead by gunmen in Donald Duck masks. His death draws his twin brother — shy, bookish Adam — into Brandon’s underworld of deceit and desire.

A miniature kingdom sprouts in a Notting Hill tower-block, LA mansions burn in week-long parties, and in a Baroque hotel suite a record is being made that could redeem its maker even as it destroys him. As Adam begins to fall for his brother’s shattered family he finds that to win them for himself he’ll have to lose everything that he holds dear.

With echoes of Performance, The Talented Mr Ripley and Mulholland Drive, The Ruins delves into the dark heart of fame: magic, music and murder.


This is interesting from the first page. The narrator is certainly very original and strategises creating an earthquake and contemplates how catastrophic to make it. It creates a powerful and poignant opening for what’s to come.
Readers will be introduced to Nottinghill and Umbrage as well as the tangible and metaphorical within the way life goes. There’s a carousel, which is very tangible and yet also demonstrates how life spins round and there are ups and downs and the whole world of music and Umbrage all becomes intriguing. It certainly seems to cover everything and Mat Osman has used his music credentials and ability to write to create this fascinating book, where family, love, murder, music, fame and the trappings of it are all bound together.

Brandon dies and Adam is told as bluntly as blunt can be and then it is discovered there are secrets and delves deeply and excitedly into the music industry. The book gets into the mystery from there of what happened to Brandon. The recounting of what happened is filled with action and intrigue. This is dark, sinister and  gritty as it shows Brandon was far from leading a clean cut life, having been in trouble with the law. 

Mat Osman delves into the darker side of the human psyche and even as far as the theme of what it would be like to pretend to be your sibling to find out more about your brother’s life and who he knew. It shows life isn’t always glamourous in the music business. It’s a bit like stepping into the backstage or inside a musician’s head to see what they privately; really think about a gig and about London and then slip into the party. It’s like the doors are flung wide open and a spotlight shining on the whole music scene and grittier than ever before to show just how dark it can get all in one story. It’s all the things that everyone knows a bit about it from news headlines, but written in fiction and still just as hardhitting and shows even more than what people read about, and yet there is also a bit dreamy in feel at times too.

Readers delve into characters lives where there is plenty of  attitude and ego to the point of narcisistic tendencies. Within this is also the question of identity, how people see themselves, what seering ambition can do to people and affect how people see them, how in fame, people can see you differently to how you really are and living with this, almost dual identity.

It certainly covers a great deal and will leave readers satisfied by the end, with all the tension of emotion that ripples through the book, heightening to a crescendo.

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