Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Sand Men by Christopher Fowler

Review by The Mole

Lea, Roy and their 15 year old daughter, Cara, have moved Dubai as Roy searches for work. Roy has been recruited to help build a luxury and exclusive holiday resort for the super rich - but health and safety standards are poor and workers keep dying deaths that should not be happening.

Lea is a journalist but is now expected to be a "stay at home" wife focussed on cooking and hosting dinners, but that's not enough for her - she wants to get into local journalism and pursue her own career. She starts to write articles for a local magazine, focussed on how great life is, and will be, at the resort when she hears about children who have gone missing from the construction town.

Christopher Fowler is probably best know for his Bryant and May stories -  stories of murder and detection with a fair bit of humour on the side - but this is a very different kind of novel. From the start the reader is aware that there is at least one mystery death and we are waiting for more. Lea, the main voice of the story, is unaware for a while and when she does hear then these "industrial accidents" are explained with a full technical cause. The pace starts slowly as Lea suspects nothing untoward and it takes a while before the pace really starts to race towards the book's conclusion but is it all paraphrenia?

Having read only the Bryant and May books before I was taken aback by the significant change of style in this book - everything is done differently - and once I got over that I thought it worked magnificently. Fowler is described as a master of horror and crime and this story reaffirms that title. A brilliantly plotted and told story of truly horrific crimes.

Put aside any expectations from Fowler's previous books and you will enjoy this from page one.

Publisher - Solaris
Genre - adult fiction,  crime mystery

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