Published by John Murray
It doesn’t look like murder in a city full of death.
A pandemic called ‘The Sweats’ is sweeping the globe. London is a city in crisis. Hospitals begin to fill with the dead and dying, but Stevie Flint is convinced that the sudden death of her boyfriend Dr Simon Sharkey was not from natural causes. As roads out of London become gridlocked with people fleeing infection, Stevie’s search for Simon’s killers takes her in the opposite direction, into the depths of the dying city and a race with death.
TV presenter Stevie Flint finds her boyfriend, Dr Simon Sharkey, dead in his bed. The official ruling is adult sudden death syndrome, but it soon becomes apparent that this was much more likely murder. When Stevie receives a note from beyond the grave from Simon, telling her that he has hidden a package in her loft space and instructing her to deliver this package to a colleague and trust no-one else… Stevie is sent on a dangerous, gripping, and terrifying mission.
With an absolute Wowzer! of a prologue to this book, I was immediately drawn into this one.
Set in a dystopian London, where everyone is dropping like flies from a virus referred to as ‘The Sweats’; Stevie finds it increasingly difficult to get to the truth when half the people she needs help from have died from the virus, and the other half have lost all hope and quite frankly do not care.
I really enjoyed this one. Stevie is portrayed as a plucky, smart, and very likeable woman who has been mercilessly dragged into a scary and confusing world. She did lose some favour with me when hopping into bed with a complete stranger mere days after finding her dead boyfriend… but then that always seems to happen in these situations doesn’t it? Stevie returning to her boyfriend’s trashed flat to lie on the floor and pleasure herself was also a bit awkward and absurd, fortunately the discovery of another dead body stopped her in her tracks, because yes that would just be weird huh? However these were only two small faults in an otherwise fantastic read.
The whole virus angle serves as a fascinating backdrop. Welsh portrays a terrifying side to humanity, showing just how drastically people can turn when faced with such utter devastation and drowning in death. What’s more, this isn’t a far-fetched dystopia set at least decades in the future – this could happen tomorrow; further adding to the terror.
Welsh also has a brilliant skill for attention to detail. The smallest things that we take for granted or pay no thought to at all, are all brought to focus in a frankly very unsettling way. Making the whole situation so much more authentic and chilling.
There are no real twists in this tale. It’s all pretty obvious who is responsible for what, and exactly why Stevie is being chased down. But this in no way dampens this thoroughly compelling and terrifying read.
Ooh and it is merely part 1 of a trilogy! Good news indeed
My thanks to the publisher for providing this book for review.