Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Random Things Tour - Don't Ask


TITLE: Don't Ask
AUTHOR: Paul Carroll
PUBLISHING DATE: April 28, 2021
PAGES: 336

A DNA ancestry test opens up a Pandora's Box of secrets. 
When Elsa Watson takes a DNA ancestry test out of idle curiosity she little imagines the devastating consequences she is about to unleash. Two families become reluctantly entwined as inconvenient truths and long suppressed memories resurface. 
A #whodunnit with a difference, Don’t Ask visits the glam rock Seventies, Britpop, Operation Yewtree and #metoo within its alternating past and present chapter structure.

MY THOUGHTS: I was initially drawn to this book because of the music aspect and I have to admit, it has me wondering how many children out their were fathered by musicians taking groupies backstage in their heyday.  Seriously, why aren't more crawling out of the woodwork.  That being said, Don't Ask not only looks at the not-so-glamorous look at fame but also focuses on the ugliness of some of those who have became famous.

As an afterthought, Elsa Watson takes a DNA test after receiving a free one at the photography business where she works.  She's not expecting much but soon she's opening a major case of worms.  Add in with two family's struggling with various issues and some very well-written mental health concerns and you have a book which was definitely not the contemporary/mystery read I was expecting.

There was a lot of things I liked about this book.  I really enjoyed getting to know most of the characters and as mentioned, I always enjoy a good music tale.  I really felt for both families caught up in this DNA disaster and as the story evolved, it took a downright depressing turn.  And let me tell you, Carroll knows how to end a book.  I'm still thinking about the ending.

My main complaint with Don't Ask is that for at least the first 100 pages, I was confused.  There are multiple players in the tale and multiple timelines as well and it often took me a page or two into each chapter to figure out who I was reading about now.  

Other than that, Don't Ask is a fairly hard-hitting book and if you enjoy British novels, glam rock and family drama, then this might just be the book for you.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul Carroll has been drawn to ink and the written word since launching a rock fanzine in his late teens.  

Born and bred in Leeds, Paul crossed the Pennines in the mid-70s to study English Language and English Literature at the University of Manchester.  

Chasing a job in journalism he stumbled into the world of PR and ten years after starting his career set up his own PR consultancy, Communique PR, in Manchester.

 There he worked on many well-known brands including Boddingtons, Heineken, Thorntons Chocolate, Chicago Town Pizza, Big D peanuts, Co-op Funerals and Manchester Airport. 

These days, Paul concentrates on his writing. 

Paul’s books are full of dark humour and satirical takes.  His writing has been compared to that of Ben Elton, Nick Hornby and Jonathan Coe in tackling serious contemporary issues in a highly engaging and entertaining way.

Don’t Ask (Matador 2021) is Paul Carroll’s fourth novel, following A Matter of Life and Death (Matador, 2012), Written Off (Matador, 2016), and Trouble Brewing (Matador, 2017). 


  1. Thanks for the blog tour support x

  2. With multiple players AND timelines, I can see why it got a little confusing at the start. But it does sound like an interesting read.