Sunday, February 14, 2016

Book Review: A Necessary End by F. Paul Wilson & Sarah Pinborough

A Necessary End by F. Paul Wilson & Sarah Pinborough

Paperback, 174 pages

Published January 12th 2014 by Shadowridge Press

Bram Stoker Award Nominee for Superior Achievement in a Novel (2013)

It is not every day that two of my favorite authors combine their powers and work together. I have no idea what took me so long to get this as F.Paul Wilson and Sarah Pinborough are clearly two of my favorites. In many ways these two plotting to end the world is a absolute match made in heaven. Wilson has ended the world before in classics like Nightworld and Midnight Mass, and Pinborough has done slow burn collapses in the Dog Faced Gods Trilogy and Deathhouse.

As someone who has read almost 40 novels between the two I admit I was curious to see if I could detect one author's touch on given passages. For the most part it was a perfect blend. The London setting might trick a reader to think the narrative was lead by Pinborough. There are moments that clearly in the voice of Paul Wilson. Neither dominates for more than flashes and as such it provides a unique reading experience that only bums me out at the short page count.

The novel is the story of Nigel and Abby a married couple in London facing the end of the world caused by a plague of flies. Nigel is a reporter who has just returned from a investigation in Africa to find the roots of the plague. The novel starts with his return but that trip itself felt like it could have been a equally interesting novel. There are many moments that felt ripe for expansion of the story. This concept could have carried an extra 200 or 300 pages that is something as a reader and critic I almost never say.

The end of the world in this novel is quite horrifying, in fact there is a scene that takes place at London's Heathrow airport that is jaw-droppingly good. Both authors do a really amazing job squeezing in a ton of story and world building to the 174 pages. If there is a negative is that Wilson's trademark B story plot twist doesn't have the time to develop. Repairman Jack novels almost always weave B stories that often develop organically from plot points you don't see coming, even when you look for them. (I mean sometimes he plants seeds two or more books out)

The B story of a missing child amid the chaos of the end of the world was great but might have worked better as a case that Nigel was working on before the end of the world started. This was hard to do as the entry point the authors used was jumping in mid-apocalypse. That's minor nitpick.

The real strength of the book might get over looked in such a high concept story. The characters of Nigel and Abby ground the story. A strong indication of how well the characters are realized comes when I led off describing the story with them before I did the Fly apocalypse. The end of the world is my favorite subgenre of horror and those elements are well represented, but Nigel and Abby's personal struggles get magnified by the stress. Nigel throws himself into work, and Abby into faith. It is interesting view the different ways they handle it all. A human way to view the world ending.

I really loved this end of the world novel, I wanted more. I wanted to see more of the global response, I wanted to see Nigel's trip to Africa. I really love these two authors, so lets face it I just wanted a longer book. That said I am happy with what we have. If you like end of the world novels this one featuring a swarming disease infested flies is well worth your time.

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