Trou­ble in par­adise

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased OUT NOW! 384 pages | Pa­per­back/ Ebook

Au­thor Christo­pher Fowler

Pub­lisher So­laris

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.

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