Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Search For Ethan / Robert Cowan

Reviewed by: Keith Nixon

Genre: Dark Humour

Approximate word count: 55-60,000 words

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Robert Cowan lives in a small town in Scotland with his family and a couple of cats. Cowan has always had a love for music and whilst studying for a degree in mechanical engineering bought a drum kit. Despite not making it in the music business the author continued to want to express himself and turned to writing. The Search For Ethan is his debut.

You can learn more about the author at his website.


Tommy and Stevie are best friends, nobody knows why, particularly not them. Polar opposites in background and character, Tommy is studious, raised by religious parents whilst Stevie is the troublesome offspring of an alcoholic, Margo. Tommy has potential, Stevie probably has a short life ahead of him. They shouldn’t get on, but they do and enjoy each other's company getting into a variety of relatively minor scrapes. Until one drug fueled night when everything goes disastrously wrong…


I’ve read The Search For Ethan twice. Why? Because it deserved it. The first time I read it was for this review. The trouble was I didn’t write it up properly. So I read Ethan again. Thankfully it’s no great hardship, quite the opposite, in fact. This is a bloody good book which once you have it in hand you won’t want to put down.

First it’s quite difficult to pigeon hole Ethan. Is it a coming of age book? Sort of, Tommy and Stevie spend some of the novel growing up together, experiencing life. Is it humour? Yes, certainly, but it’s gritty most of the time, and set in what is often a bleak narrative ―—–‒— certainly not your average light-hearted stuff.

Actually what Ethan is, it’s a character driven novel, people getting on with life because otherwise it’s a case of giving up. And the Scots don’t do that. Besides the two main characters the other highlight is Margo. The dialogue is also a highlight and provides a great supporting role to the plot.

As mentioned in the bio Cowan has a love for music and this cuts through the story as well with a litany of tracks from the period the novel is set in playing in the background.

One character I haven’t mentioned is Ethan who’s he? Well, you’ll just have to find out…


Plenty of swearing, mild substance abuse.

Format/Typo Issues:

Nothing significant.

Rating: ***** Five Stars

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