THE SAND MEN
Trouble in paradise
released OUT NOW! 384 pages | Paperback/ Ebook
Author Christopher Fowler
Walking the line between genre and non- genre fiction is often tricky; new thriller The Sand Men invokes one of the experts in the field, pulling off a deliberate homage to the darkly satirical novels of JG Ballard. Walking a similar path to Ballard stories like High Rise and SuperCannes, it’s an examination of the affluent yet divided society of Dubai.
The story follows Lea, the wife of an engineer hired to assist with the opening of Dream World, a luxurious Dubai resort that’s been plagued by a series of strange accidents. Already distant from her husband and her daughter, Lea feels trapped in the gated community for foreign workers, but the death of a neighbour leads her onto the trail of unsettling secrets.
Only lightly qualifying as a genre novel, the book is strongest when exploring the shocking gaps between the wealth of the resort and the poverty it co- exists with. Fowler’s experience writing crime thrillers gives the plot an atmospheric, slow- burning edge, although the ultimate reveal stretches disbelief a little too far. Despite this, The Sand Men remains an interesting, challenging read that explores relevant and discomfiting territory. Saxon Bullock
A collection of Fowler’s Bryant & May short stories is due in November, with the 13th novel arriving in May 2016.