Harry Bosch meets Blade Runner in this brilliant thriller.
Jonathan Moore’s frightening near-future thriller The Night Market is a thought-provoking noirish crime novel set in a gorgeously realised subtly-futuristic, overwhelmingly dystopian version of San Francisco, where copper thieves run rampant, drones buzz above the heads of the city’s citizens, and ostentatious consumer consumption runs riot. Think of a Michael Connelly Harry Bosch novel set in a Blade Runner-esque world.
When a man is found dead — his corpse in a terrifying state of decay — in one of the city’s luxury homes, SFPD Homicide detective Ross Carver and his partner are called to the scene to lead the investigation. But before they’re able to get beyond a cursory glance at the victim, six FBI agents — or are they? —burst in and forcibly remove them from the premises. The detectives are hastened into a disinfectant chamber, sprayed with a metallic-tasting liquid, then rendered unconscious. When Carver wakes two days later in his apartment, he has no memory of the events that occurred; but his mysterious neighbour, Mia, is strangely determined to help Carver remember.
The Night Market steadily ramps up its revelations, and it gradually becomes clear there are larger forces at play. Moore resists the temptation to have Carver follow breadcrumbs into the darkest corners of his incredibly-imagined world, keeping the narrative tight and focused. Moore’s latest novel — the first of his I’ve read, but surely not the last — is a tense, gritty thriller, and near-perfect in its overall execution, with an ending that lingers well past the final page. Seriously, this is a book that nails its finale; it’s pitch-perfect and haunting. It’s one of my favourite thrillers of the year so far.
Imprint: Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Publish Date: 11-Jan-2018
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
If fiction has taught me one thing it’s that after the apocalypse — whether it’s in the form of a virus, cataclysmic earthquake, nuclear fallout, whatever — a small section of mankind will survive, some of whom will be warped into violent psychopaths (possibly riding motorbikes), while the others will merely struggle to survive in a decimated world, ultimately establishing a semblance of a new society, or at least leaving readers with the hope that all is not lost.
But all is lost in Heinz Helle’s Euphoria. We are not privy to the specifics of this world’s apocalypse; all we know — told from the perspective of an unnamed narrator — is that he and his four childhood friends — all male — were on holiday together in a remote mountain chalet when the end times arrived. The world around them is now empty, void of almost all human life, its towns and villages reduced to ashes because of various conflagrations. This is not a zombie-infested world, or one inhabited by crazed humans. It’s just desolate and dehumanised. Society is gone. All that matters to our narrator and his friends is survival, and co-existing, if only because they are stronger united than apart.
Euphoria is bleak and brutal, exposing the worst of man even as they demonstrate the tenacity to survive in such horrific circumstances. The novel flits backwards and forwards between the post-apocalyptic present and the pre-apocalyptic past, the latter of which presents these men as imperfect specimens, but resoundingly and empathetically human, whereas the former removes any sort of sympathy. It takes a very short period of time for our narrator and his friends to descend into savagery and submit to their base desires.
This is a short but wholly memorable novel. It’s reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but whereas that masterpiece beat to the drum of the love between a father and a son, Euphoria quickly strips the emotion away from these survivor’s plight. It’s a harsh tale, but beautifully rendered.
Format: Paperback (215mm x 138mm x 17mm)
Imprint: Serpent’s Tail
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Publish Date: 16-Feb-2017
Country of Publication: United Kingdom