There's Been a Little Incident

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Pub Date 15 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 22 Sep 2022

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Description

'Warm, wry and genuinely funny. Alice Ryan has a great ability to describe the nuances of people.' Marian Keyes

A witty and warm debut novel from a young Irish writer. A story of family, grief, and the ways we come together when all seems lost.

Molly Black has disappeared. She's been flighty since her parents died, but this time – or so says her hastily written note – she's gone for good.

That's why the whole Black clan – from Granny perched on the printer to Killian on Zoom from Sydney – is huddled together in the Dublin suburbs, arguing over what to do.

Former model Lady V presumes Molly's just off taking drugs and sleeping with strangers – which is fine by her. Cousin Anne, tired of living in Molly's shadow, is keeping quiet, and cousin Bobby is distracted by his own issues.

But Molly's disappearance is eerily familiar to Uncle John. He is determined never to lose anyone again. Especially not his niece, who is more like her mum than she realises.

Praise for There's Been a Little Incident:
'Here is a story that takes on grief in its many insidious guises, and yet this brave, big-hearted novel is full of warmth and wisdom. Clever, funny and an utterly life-enhancing read.' Christine Dwyer Hickey
'Told with great generosity and humour... Absorbing, uplifting and very hopeful.' Sinéad Crowley
'A refreshing, hugely entertaining novel with depth and ambition that had me compelled from the off. Alice Ryan is an author I will read forever more.' Anne Griffin

'Warm, wry and genuinely funny. Alice Ryan has a great ability to describe the nuances of people.' Marian Keyes

A witty and warm debut novel from a young Irish writer. A story of family, grief, and...


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ISBN 9781803284057
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PAGES 416

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Featured Reviews

There’s Been a Little Incident is a magnificent novel, exquisitely crafted, and strikingly warm and funny for a story that touches on loss and grief. I loved the excellent writing, the wonderful cast of characters, and all the wisdom and glimpses of hope throughout this book. If I have to choose one highlight - which is almost impossible, because there were so many - I would say how well the author constructed this story to capture the family dynamics.

Molly Black has disappeared before, but there’s something about the note she left this time that set off her granny, uncles, aunts, cousins, and best friend for a search. Each chapter followed one relative and it’s impossible not to fall for the Black family, who suffered terrible loss and grief but somehow still only know how to love to the fullest. They might be an eccentric family and the whole clan - all of them - had their quirks and whims, but it was as Uncle John said: You don’t have to come home. Just know you have a home to come to.

There’s Been a Little Incident is a triumph at every level. And this novel is just the author’s debut. I can’t wait to read their future work.

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FROM THE COVER-
'There's been a little incident...'
Molly Black has disappeared. She's been a bit flighty since her parents died (sure, hadn't she run off with a tree surgeon that time?) but this time, or so says her hastily written leaving note, she's gone for good.
That's why the whole Black clan – from Granny perched on the printer all the way through to Killian on Zoom from Sydney – is huddled together in the back room of Uncle John's semi-D in the Dublin suburbs, arguing over what to do.
Cousin Bobby's having a hard enough time of it as it is, convincing his family he's happy single and childless. Lady V reckons this is all much too much fuss over a thirty year old. And Uncle Danny knows all too well how it feels to be lost with no one trying to find you.
But Uncle John is determined never to lose anyone again. Especially not his niece, who is more like her mum than she realises.



I really enjoyed this book. It has early Marian Keyes vibes witty, funny, heartwarming with a deeper undertone . Ryan captures the quirks of family perfectly, each individual character is unique, well written and developed beautifully as the novel progresses. Told in the third person we hear from a number of family members giving insight to the disappearance of Molly. The book examines grief in all it’s guises in a identifiable true to life way told in way that is full of warmth, wisdom and humour. This great debut novel I look forward to the writers next outing if it is anything like this am all in.

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I really enjoyed this book, it was well written with a thrid person narrative, compelling and engaging storyline and well developed characters that I loved. A really easy and heartwarming read that was humourous too.

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It is easy to get lost in Molly Black's world. She has a big loving family who mostly adores her. Molly still suffers the grief from the early loss of her dynamic mother and even earlier loss of her devoted father. Molly has a history of wandering off and an unorthodox lifestyle. However, her family and best friend are worried when she runs away this time. Each characters has a storyline that draws the reader in and keeps their attention. Beautifully written, this book embraces family, friendship and acceptance. I read this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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A complex story! Yes, there was a little incident, in fact there were quite a few. As the author introduces characters, most of which are as mad as a box of frogs, the reader is treated to an insider's view of a functioning dysfunctional family. Bound together by not just familial ties but also a history of grief and loss, each member tries to adjust to the little incident and the ripple effect on their lives. Both hilarious and heartbreaking, the road they travel crosses many lines and not just international borders. By the time the journey is over, there is a sense of relief from each member that they have realised that they are actually alright, even quite acceptable exactly as they are. Perhaps a little long-winded but very entertaining.

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I really enjoyed this. It took me a little while to get in to as there was a massive cast of characters introduced early on but as it progressed and their stories were revealed it was worth it. Definitely recommended.

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Molly, approaching her thirties, lives in London. She has many acquaintances but only one close friend B with whom she flat shares. B is about to move in with his boyfriend, sending the fragile Molly into a tailspin. When she disappears, not for the first time, her extended family in Dublin mobilise to see what can be done to locate her.
There’s been a little Bit of an Incident, the debut novel from Alice Ryan is a warm, tender, intelligent book. It seems that the published version will contain a family tree of the Blacks. I felt the loss of one in this early version as it was difficult to get to grips with all the aunts and uncles and cousins.
One by one – with the exception of Even-Stephen- whom I couldn’t get fitted in anywhere- the back-story of these characters is unveiled as the plans for finding Molly are hatched. Impossibly, the additive effect of all their quirks and issues is enormous. Their blundering about provides a result for the job in hand as well as benefits for each of the individual family members.
At times the books veers in and out of different genres, at times a touch Rom-Com and at others a much more considered study of loss and love.
This is a lovely read which I enjoyed enormously.

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Molly Black has disappeared. She's been flighty since her parents died, but this time – or so says her hastily written note – she's gone for good.

That's why the whole Black clan – from Granny perched on the printer to Killian on Zoom from Sydney – is huddled together in the Dublin suburbs, arguing over what to do.

Former model Lady V presumes Molly's just off taking drugs and sleeping with strangers – which is fine by her. Cousin Anne, tired of living in Molly's shadow, is keeping quiet, and cousin Bobby is distracted by his own issues.

But Molly's disappearance is eerily familiar to Uncle John. He is determined never to lose anyone again. Especially not his niece, who is more like her mum than she realises.

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Molly Black comes from a big, Irish family. After travelling the world with her best friend B, they decide to settle in London. B becomes involved with Jeff, and Molly thinks she should give them some space, so decides to take herself off to a retreat, aided and abetted by Jeff. The family back home are worried, though they know that running away is a usual event in Molly’s life.

This really is a big cast, and the first couple of chapters are a struggle getting everyone straight in your head and what part they play in the family. I understand there’s to be a family tree in the actual book, it certainly needs it!

Each chapter gives the reader an insight to the individual character, some more likeable than others as in all families.

With strong Marian Keyes vibes, this book takes us through the vagaries of a family and all the little idiosyncrasies they have.

Not a patch on the Walshes, but even so very enjoyable once I got into it. It’s amazing that this is a debut novel, so well written. I look forward to more from Alice Ryan.

Thank you NetGalley.

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A truly delightful tale of a messed up extended family whose love for each other knows no bounds. There is a mixture of melancholy and hilarity and it was all so well written that I was keen to go along for the ride. Life lessons and deep sentiments are not at all out of place alongside the laugh out loud dialogue and antics of the quirky characters within this novel. A true gem which I will be forcing upon others to read.

Not quite five stars for me, as I felt there was no Beginning, Middle and End. It was as if it was all Middle. Or it continued on after the End.

Not a fan of the cover, but I'm not sure what would suitably convey the heart of the story.

With so many characters, a helpful addition would be a "cast" or family tree right at the start.

I received this arc from netgalley and Head of Zeus in exchange for my honest opinion.

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There's Been a Little Incident by Alice Ryan

Molly Black has gone missing from her London life. In Dublin multiple generations of the Black family come together to try to find Molly and bring her home. But things don't turn out quite as expected.

Wow, what an amazing debut! I so enjoyed this book and miss the Black family now it's over. Lots of quirky family members and real humour along with important themes of grief and family and love. Absolutely loved it and very VERY highly recommend - I think this book will be a big hit and inevitable comparisons with Marian Keyes will be drawn!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.

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Molly is fleeing her grief- again, or is it still? only this time her family are determined not to lose her and set of on a mission to resuce her from herself.
Full of fantastic family relationships with characters that all draw on someone we all know and love, despite, or perhaps because of, their many and varied quirks.
The passion of the family to bring Molly back to the fold is both beautiful and slightly bonkers and in turn draws some truths from other family members and changes their dynamic for good.
A great read that has you rooting for Molly to find what she needs.

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This book is based on a story of grief and loss, yet it is so brilliantly written that it doesn’t feel like a sad book. It explores an extended family, their unconditional love and how they’d drop everything to be there when a family member needs them. The only ‘negative’ about this book is that there’s a few too many narrators and it makes getting to know / keep track of the characters tricky.

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Thank you to Head of Zeus and Netgalley for a copy of this book.

Thirty year old Molly Black has disappeared. She's been flighty since she was orphaned at 19.

Uncle John, determined to find he, calls a family meeting.

in this debut novel, we're slowly introduced to her various family members and her best friend, B is this non-linear narrative. This story isn't about really Molly, but about her whole family and the whole left by her parents.

While this was a very enjoyable and entertaining read; the large amount of characters and plots did leave to some of the plots feeling rushed and unfinished.

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I really enjoyed this book; more than once it reminded me of something Marian Keyes would write. I found it extremely funny but also incredibly poignant in places, with the characters’ back stories and the ups and downs of their lives making them the people they were. I found the characters believable and liked all of them which is unusual for me. I totally disagree with some other reviewers who said there were too many characters to be able to follow them all. My only criticism was the sub-plot which I don’t feel was needed and detracted from the main story as it felt like an afterthought. Thoroughly recommended.

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A wonderful story of family, grief, acceptance and unconditional love. We can learn a lot from the characters in this book. Written in the third person, we see deeply into their personalities and struggles, and how they eventually deal with things that are thrown their way. Uncle John is a great character with hidden depths. A little confusing early on in the book to keep track of everyone, but a very rewarding read. Highly recommended.

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Molly is 30 and lives in London when she disappears, not unusual for her, her quirky extended family in Dublin try to track her down.
I really enjoyed this tale of family healing, loss, acceptance, and unwavering love. However, be advised that there is a sizeable list of characters, which occasionally confused me. I recommend making a list to refer back to. That said, It's a really good read after you figure out who is who in Molly's extended family.

Thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for the opportunity to read and review this Arc of Theres Been a Little Incident.

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Molly has disappeared leaving a note.
Her disjointed Irsih family have no idea where she has gone but each one is affected by the disappearance and each have their own theory.
Only Uncle John remembers when Molly's mother disappeared!

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It’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel. What a talent this author has.

There is so much to love about this book. It’s set in Dublin, always a winner for a Dub like me, and the typical Dublin sense of humour is sprinkled throughout the book. But regardless of where you are from, you cannot fail to love the Black family, and find someone to relate to. The characters are so authentic, and really make this book the special novel that it is.

At first it seems that there are a lot of characters in this rather large extended family, but it doesn’t take long to get to know them all, and they are as funny as they are diverse.

This is a book that will make you laugh and smile, but it’s so much more than that. It’s also very thought-provoking and poignant and is as likely to produce tears of sorrow and empathy as it is tears of laughter.

Warm and witty, this skilfully crafted novel makes for a magnificent debut and I will be eagerly awaiting more from this very talented author.

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Molly is a runner, trying to stay ahead of her grief. When her only best friend and flat mate decides to move out and live with his boyfriend, Molly panics. She does what she always has done, runs.
Her family, which is huge, gathers from all over the world, through zoom and is determined to find her. That is what they do. The author introduces the family members, and we learn about them.
It is a story of grief, love, and the family that is always there.
I received an ARC from Apollo through NetGalley.

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“She was used to being wild Molly, exasperating Molly, cheeky Molly, but still after all these years she hadn’t found the words to be sad Molly. She would have felt more comfortable calling her family to say she’d been arrested than that she was lonely.”

There’s Been A Little Incident is the first novel by Irish author Alice Ryan. When Molly Black’s Uncle John gathers the family together, some think it’s a bit premature. Molly has disappeared before, often requiring a dramatic extraction, and maybe she just wants to escape for a while. If so, who could blame her?

Crammed into John’s suburban Dublin house, in person or by Zoom, are Molly’s four uncles, her four aunts (not necessarily spouses of said uncles), her granny (mother of five of those present) and four cousins. John reports that B., Molly’s best friend since they were four, was left a note that “didn’t say where she was going, just that she loved us, but she had to run”.

When John stresses the urgency to find her, several remind him of earlier false alarms, but he is insistent, and assigns them tasks. While Molly has always been impulsive, B. is inclined to believe that his decision to move in with his new boyfriend has precipitated this. And he’d be right: fatherless since she was nine, motherless at nineteen, without B. as her constant companion, she feels there’s no one to whom she now belongs.

As the family searches for clues to her destination, some at first believing the whole exercise to be unnecessary, irritating and inconvenient, they begin to recall what Molly has been in their lives. “Molly had a special connection to each of us” For John, “it seemed like Molly was the daughter he’d never had” and “Molly Black was like electricity – sometimes she lit up the world. Sometimes she electrocuted you.”

They remember how Molly had tried to talk to each of them over the last few weeks, but they didn’t spare her the time, so now they feel a little guilty about that. They also remember just how much Annabelle, of whom Molly reminds them so much, did for them when she was still alive.

Thinking back, they realise that, actually, they have always needed Molly just as much as she has needed them. Even if some of them think she is more a contagious mess than a lovable rogue to be humoured, they agree that Molly has to be found.

The Black family aren’t the only ones who want to know where Molly is: the Guards want to ask her what she might have seen when she was near where a young nurse, now missing, was last seen alive.

So when they get word, they put together an extraction team “of nothing but liabilities. The line-up was an irate aunt with a broken ankle, a vacuous vlogger who Bobby had actively avoided for twenty years, a heavily sedated uncle on the verge of a pro-terrorism diatribe, a nervous wreck who could only grasp concepts which existed as functions in Excel, and at the last minute –and the absolute pièce de résistance –they’d had to replace Mike, the one reliable member of the team, with a long-term alcoholic.”

Ryan’s cast of characters is a crazy family, made up of “new-aged hippies, religious nuts, alcoholics, former shoe salesmen, delinquent youths and Sudoku enthusiasts” who manage to endear themselves to the reader. Are they “nosy, judgemental and eccentric but ultimately great”? or “suffocating, overbearing people who pigeon-holed you”? Either way, quite a few of them are dealing with grief. And doing it the best way they can.

Ryan gives them wise words and insightful observations: “People who give out that much good energy, who are breezy and jovial and try their best to be happy and positive all the time, have a far greater capacity for getting hurt than those who put up a defence.” She often has a marvellous turn of phrase: “Mike called them the Botox Bettys. But Liam said they were more like the Schadenfreude Sheilas”. Funny, heart-warming and uplifting, this is a brilliant debut novel.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Head of Zeus Apollo

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A delight to read.
An insightful novel that makes you want to read it quickly, but not too quickly as you don’t want it to end.
A thoroughly enjoyable book to read.

Molly Black has gone missing. The Black family are all assembled at Uncle John’s house for a briefing of how they are going to find Molly and bring her home.
When did each member last speak to her? How was she? And more importantly, where is she?

When the book started all the characters came to life at once. It was a little bit confusing at first who was who in the extended Black family, but I picked it up sharp.
The characters were easy to get to know as the book progressed, with different characters writing different chapters.
Mainly dealing with grief, and how we as individuals deal with grief in our own ways in life, this book portrays how the various members of the family were trying to do so in their own unique ways, with their own loss and grief.
Sad in places, laugh out loud in others, it touches on family bonding and ties, love, loss, grief, and what people go through in life.
Hope runs through the book.

Thank you NetGalley and Head of Zeus for an e-book copy. Opinions are my own.

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A delightfully humorous story evolving around a close knit Irish family. Full of quirky characters involved in all sorts of exploits. Despite all this family, hit by grief and events come together as an incredibly strong unit looking out for each other. Led by patriarchal John who gets everyone behind him in a somewhat chaotic manner, but has everyone's best interests at heart. A book that accepts people for who they are whilst working through personal problems. Many of the characters we can identify with even if they are not all in the same family! A thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable first book from Alice Ryan, I look forward to reading more from her in the future.

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A family who cares and looks out for each other when one of them goes missing.
A lot of characters so be prepared but oh such a delightful read.

Thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for an early release of this book.

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Initially I struggled with the wide cast of characters in the Black family and the numerous jumps between timelines in the first section of this debut novel. I believe that in the finished version of the novel there will be a family tree which will be a great help. However, I did eventually get to grips with everyone and thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Molly , a wild child is approaching her 30’s but has never reconciled herself to the death of her parents and when it all gets too much for her she runs away only to be ‘rescued’ by the rest of her extended family. The Black family are a diverse cast of characters all with their personnel back story. Molly is not the only woman to disappear that evening and the parallel story of Sheena was gripping with quite a twist. I warmed to this dysfunctional family and it’s myriad characters over the course of the novel. A book of love and loss, grief and acceptance but above all of family. Thank you NetGalley for the ARC of this novel in return for an honest review.

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Heart-breaking and hilarious, warm and witty, with a cast of eccentric characters - I adored this. It took a little while for me to be hooked but hooked I was. I loved how we see more of the big picture than the family and the brilliant way that the penny finally drops for them. People have to find their own way to deal with loss but this extended family cares and supports and, despite being very quick to label, can grow and change. Pure delight.

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After initially struggling to get into this book, due to the combination of being written in the third narrative and its various characters, I kept at it and as I got to know each characters background, I thoroughly enjoyed it

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Molly Black has disappeared. She's been a bit flighty since her parents died (sure hadn't she run off with a tree surgeon that time?) but this time, or so her hastily written note, she's gone for good. That's why the whole Black clan - from Granny perched on the printer all the way through to Killian on zoom from Sydney - is huddled together on the back room of Uncle John's semi-D in the Dublin suburbs, arguing over what to do. cousin Bobby is having a hard enough time of it as it is, convincing his family he's happy single and childless. Lady V reckons this is all too much fuss over a thirty-yea-old. And Uncle Danny knows all too well how it feels to be lost with no one trying to find you.

This is a story that's based around a family's grief and loss, but it's also quite funny too. It's also been beautifully written and shows how unconditional love can revolve around in an extended family. we could learn a lot from some of the characters in this book. Each character has their own storyline. Some characters were more likeable than others. I did struggle at first trying to remember the vast number of characters, but I soon got to grips with them all. Molly was not the only woman who disappeared that evening. The Black clan are quite a dysfunctional family, but I liked them. This is an intriguing read and I will look out for the authors future books.

I would like to thank #NetGalley #HeadofZeus and the author #AliceRyan for my ARC of #TheresBeenALittleIncident in exchange for an honest review.

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Thanks to the author, the publisher and netgalley for an advanced reading copy.
'There's Been a Little Incident' is a delightful debut novel from Alice Ryan. The large and extended Black family with all their own foibles, fears and quirks make for a very enjoyable read. It's a charming, witty and poignant read dealing with life, death and grief and how families tick. Sadly, my arc didn't have a much-needed family tree at the beginning, but I believe there will be one in the final print. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the Black family and recommend you meet them too.

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Considering the themes of loss and grief in this book, it manages to be both warm and funny. It’s beautifully written with some lovely, wise characters and captures the dynamics of so many families so well. I loved how the chapters were following one member of the family as it meant we got to know each one. A brilliant debut.

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I’d describe this book as realistic fiction. The author has done an amazing job at creating imaginary characters and situations that depict the world and society. The characters focus on themes of growing, self-discovery and confronting personal and social problems. This is a first for me by the author and one I enjoyed and would read more of their work. The book cover is eye-catching and appealing and would spark my interest if in a bookshop. Thank you very much to the author, publisher and Netgalley for this ARC.

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Molly was always running away. The Black family looked after her from a distance, stepping in when they felt they should. Now they needed to find her.
There are many members of the Black family & it took me a while to 'get to grips' with their stories & even to work out who was who. As the book progressed, the characters came to life & eventually the story for me fell into place.
The story covers loss, love & finding yourself. A good book & I eventually enjoyed it.

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There's Been A Little Incident will keep you reading to the very last page.

Molly is missing and not for the first time so her extended family in Dublin gets together to find her.

It is one big extended family but once you get to know all the characters the pages will fly by.

Family is everything and the characters were all well defined , not all likeable but I love that.

It is a heart warming, funny yet sad at times that kept me up reading well into the night.

There's Been A Little Incident would be a perfect Book Club read that will get the conversation going.

Alice Ryan I am a fan.

Thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus Apollo for a read I wont soon forget.

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A fantastic debut. It has such general themes going on between grief, love and family dynamics but there's such an inherent Irishness at work here too, especially in the humour. I found myself both concerned for Molly and laughing at how the family deals with it at times. Overall it was heartwarming and solid on the plot front too.

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Molly Black's big (really big) family and friends all give their views of Molly, the family, and life in general as they search for her. She's gone missing-taken off-which she's done before but what prompted it this time? is is because her room mate is moving out? Or, is it connected to the reason the Garda want to talk with her? And what about her mother, Annabelle,, who also used to disappear (before she died)? It's an interesting way to build a character and all the individuals here shine. I was surprised by this one- no spoilers- not only because of the answers but because it's just such a good read. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. I'm a fan.

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Molly has gone missing. Not from the bosom of her family, but from London. B thinks it's because he's moved in with his boyfriend. Her Uncle John calls together the family to discuss how they track her down, but is met with a touch of lethargy as Molly has a history of running away. It's not surprising, she lost her father to a heart attack at nine and her mother was killed in a car crash ten years later.
He asks them all to go and review the last time they had contact with her and come back with ideas.
Each member of the clan has a different view of Molly, kind, attention seeking, off the wall, and so on. The family is divided between her running away or going on holiday.
When she is eventually tracked down to Thailand, a delegation flies over there. While they are trying to find her, they find out things about themselves that they had buried.
This is a story about families. That they love you and will always be there for you. It's about love and tolerance.
Reading this makes you laugh and cry. I liked it.

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A heart warming Irish family saga, a bit hard to keep track of who's who at times but a heart warming tale of a mixed up extended family, who are always there for each other. Strongly touches on themes of grief and loss.

My thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.

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A fantastic debut that will have you in tears laughing or crying (depending on the antics of the Black family)-one of the most Irish families that I’ve ever come across!

Molly Black has gone missing. B, her best friend, thinks it’s because he’s moving in with his boyfriend. Molly has always been flighty ever since her parents died. Huddled together in the Dublin suburbs, Molly’s eccentric but fiercely loyal family are trying to figure out where she’s gone. With Uncle John at the helm, he’s determined not to lose anyone again.

Told in the third person by various members of the family, each one of the characters are well developed by the author. They are quirky and I think we can all say we have a relation like Uncle John or one of the eccentric aunts hidden away in our own families. Alice’s protagonists are so well written and relatable, their actions and statements will make you cringe and laugh in equal measure! Family is everything to the Black’s, they stick together through thick and thin.

Exploring big issues like alcoholism, mental health and grief, Alice handles these superbly. Beautifully written, this debut will be a big hit with both Irish and international readers. Humorous and heart-warming, There’s Been A Little Incident is a compelling read. I can’t wait to see what Alice writes next!

Thanks to NetGalley and publishers for the arc.

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When Molly disappears her whole family must come together to find out what happened to her, and her family is a big, dysfunctional Irish family full of secrets and drama.

This is a mystery at the outset but at its heart, it's a really quite gut-wrenching tale of grief and how it touches everybody differently.

I did enjoy this book but in my opinion there was too many characters and too much going on, I understand the final copy will include a family tree which will be super helpful as by the end I still wasn't sure who was who.

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Its hard to believe that this is a debut novel it is so well crafted. It took me a while to get into this, there’s a lot of characters, but once I did I was hooked. This is a book that made me laugh out loud and made me cry too. Grief, love, loss, addiction and redemption, they and more are all here.
A huge functional dysfunctional family, that you’d be very lucky to be a part of.
There’s Been a Little Incident is a delightful read that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it

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There's Been a Little Incident by Alice Ryan.

Happy publication day to this debut novel that has kept me company over the last week and that I have looked forward to getting back to every evening,

Molly Black has disappeared. Molly has form in taking off since her parents died but this time, she has left a short note to say she is gone for good and so her extended family gather in the cramped back room of one of their homes in Dublin to formulate a plan to bring her back.

The Black family , made up of aunts, uncles, cousins are a vast cast of well -developed characters each of them written with care, wit and love. I loved them and I really loved this book. The writing reminded me of many well established authors ( the Black family could be distant cousins of Marian Keyes Walsh family) but was also uniquely fresh and captured family dynamics , past histories and habits and deep affection and love , beautifully. The whole book was a delight; warm, funny, poignant and wise. It evoked some many emotions and was a really comforting read. I hope the author is working on her next novel because I am already looking forward to whatever she writes next.

A wonderful debut, I wish the author every success.

4.5 stars.

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This story had so much to say, and I just loved it all. First and foremost, it’s a story about family, and no matter how dysfunctional it might be or how annoying, in the best sense they provide a soft place to fall.

Molly, at 30, lost her parents (the last when she was 20). She’s been running ever sense to try and stay ahead of the grief. Her various aunts/uncles/cousins/friends panic when she goes missing…again. They track her down in Thailand and see that she’s moving toward healing.

We get alternating chapters from the family members highlighting themselves and their relationship with Molly and the other relatives. We see their various issues as well (perfectionism, death of other loved ones, anxiety, alcoholism, etc.).

What I love most about this story (and there was a lot) is getting to know each family member so intimately. And even those who have been lost and are not even physically present (Molly’s parents) are seen so clearly and vividly, I sometimes forgot they weren’t there.

Hilarious, heartbreaking, inspiring and insightful…oh so good. Recommended.

My sincere thanks to the author, NetGalley and Head of Zeus for providing the free early arc for review. The opinions are strictly my own.

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Oh my gosh, I absolutely LOVED this book, gave me massive Marian Keyes vibes. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me an advance copy, I will definitely be recommending.

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There’s Been a Little Incident by Alice Ryan

Uncle John, patriarch of the Black clan, has called for a family meeting. Molly has disappeared (again) and they need a plan to find her.

There are many players in this story, and like any family, they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Watch as they grow and morph into different and better humans as they search for Molly.

The fun of this story is getting information from the author about each person in dribs and drabs. Eventually, you can put together the whole person. You may need a family tree sketch to keep track of everyone, but just do it.

An entertaining read for almost any reader and an excellent book club choice, I’m giving this title five stars along with my thanks to #BloomsburyPublishing and #NetGalley for this ARC.

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EXCERPT: Who were we without Molly?

No matter how exasperating she was, somehow Molly had a special connection to each of us. Molly and Blur shared a history of minor crime and rescued each other from dodgy situations without alerting the wider family. She and Oasis led marches to government buildings about the environment. After babysitting late one Easter weekend, Molly accidentally got hooked on the Masters and, ever since, she and Uncle Mike compared notes on all the Majors - a more unlikely golf fan there never was. Molly indulged Aunt Angela by attending 7 a.m. mass although, unbeknownst to Angela, Molly spent the time alternating between meditating and singing the soundtrack to Evita in her head. Molly brought Ann to life, was more reasonable than Even-Steven and ate Helen out of house and home. Aunt Frances approved of Molly's non-conformist walkabout lifestyle and, weirdly, Molly and Bobby both loved swimming in the rain. There was a reason John was so worked up - sometimes it seemed like Molly was the daughter he'd never had. Molly had a connection to each of us but, more than that, she brought us all together - for good reasons and bad. Molly Black was like electricity - sometimes she lit up the world. Sometimes she electrocuted you.

ABOUT 'THERE'S BEEN A LITTLE INCIDENT':
'There's been a little incident...'

Molly Black has disappeared. She's been a bit flighty since her parents died (sure, hadn't she run off with a tree surgeon that time?) but this time, or so says her hastily written leaving note, she's gone for good.

That's why the whole Black clan – from Granny perched on the printer all the way through to Killian on Zoom from Sydney – is huddled together in the back room of Uncle John's semi-D in the Dublin suburbs, arguing over what to do.

Cousin Bobby's having a hard enough time of it as it is, convincing his family he's happy single and childless. Lady V reckons this is all much too much fuss over a thirty year old. And Uncle Danny knows all too well how it feels to be lost with no one trying to find you.

But Uncle John is determined never to lose anyone again. Especially not his niece, who is more like her mum than she realises.

MY THOUGHTS: Warm and witty doesn't even begin to cover it. There's Been a Little Incident is a story of grief, of family, of love, in all it's various forms.

This vast extended family reminds me of the diagram of an atom; you remember the one with a nucleus and all the particles whizzing about it? Only I'm not quite sure who the nucleus is here. It could be Uncle John, who loves to be the centre of things; the organiser. But it's more likely that the nucleus is fluid and that each individual slips effortlessly in and out of the role in some strange uncoreographed dance that only they know the steps to.

Molly is a wonderful character. She seems to be a free spirit, but perhaps she's simply lost, untethered, unsure of her place in this world. She appears relaxed and nothing seems to irritate her. She sings 'Don't Cry For Me, Argentina' (off-key) when she's driving, and counts upwards in fives when she's stressed. She can't stay in any one place for any length of time; she is always on the move - running, running, running, mostly from herself and the insurmountable grief that she doesn't know how to live with. But, of course, the problem with running away is that you take yourself with you.

I love the dynamics in the Black family; the way they both support and gossip about one another. Electrons and neutrons.

I also enjoyed the mystery that is woven into this story. Because Molly was not the only person to disappear that night . . .

There's Been a Little Incident is a superb debut novel and Alice Ryan is an author I will be watching for.

Family was sometimes simultaneously not enough and too much. You needed them and there were times when what you needed was not to need them.

⭐⭐⭐⭐.2

#TheresBeenALittleIncident #NetGalley

I: #AliceRyanAuthor @headofzeus

T: @Alice_Ryan @HoZ_Books

#contemporaryfiction #familydrama #friendship #irishfiction #mystery #romance

THE AUTHOR: Alice Ryan grew up in Dublin. After moving to London to study at the LSE, she spent ten years working in the creative industries, holding roles in publishing, film and TV. She was Head of Insight and Planning at BBC Studios before returning to Ireland. She now works at The Arts Council of Ireland and lives in Dublin with her husband Brian and their daughter Kate.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Head of Zeus, Apollo via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of There's Been a Little Incident by Alice Ryan for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage

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