Postcards From a Dying World
News, views, book reviews and commentary from the Science Fiction and Horror fiction underground. Home of the Wonderland award nominated author of Vegan Revolution...With Zombies and Boot Boys of the Wolf Reich.
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Book Review: Lost Girl by Adam Nevill
Lost Girl by Adam Nevill
Paperback, 448 pages
Published October 2016 by Pan Macmillan
This looks like the last in my ecological horror/ Climate change Dystopia-a-thon. Not a bad way to finish off. Adam Nevill is a British horror author who was first suggested to me by my local Bookseller Mysterious Galaxy and their horror expert Rob Crowther. He suggested the book House of Small Shadows which I read and reviewed here on the blog last year. I was not a big fan of that novel, despite acknowledging that it was a good and well written book that just didn't work for me in part because I don't find dolls creepy and that is a huge part of the tone-setter.
What do I find creepy? Two things that creep me out big time are unchecked environmental destruction and child molesters, in that sense Lost Girl worked as horror novel. Because it is set in the near future (2053) it can be viewed as both Science fiction and horror, much like the classic I just reviewed last time - The Sheep Look Up. Lost Girl is in one sense a full blown climate-dystopia, but on the other hand one thing I was impressed by is Nevill never let this backdrop overwhelm the story.
Yes it is climate change novel, and that is important for setting up the lawless- and hopeless-ness of this near future Britain. This story could not exist in our world today. The main plot of the story is about a man named "The Father." This very Cormac Macarthy-like trick had the potential to drive me nuts over 437 pages. Thankfully it worked alright here. The Father is driven mad when his four year old daughter is taken from his back yard. After two years of nothing The Father decides he has to use any means to find his Daughter.
Why has everyone given up looking for her? The country has a refugee problem, Hurricane season is ramping up and crops are failing. Europe is staring down the hottest summer on record and frankly no one gives a shit about his daughter. the trail leads him into a nasty underworld of pedophiles, trafficking gangs and police corruption.
My mind was not blown by this novel, but I really enjoyed it and thought it was a very solid effort. Nevill is clearly a word-smith but never loses sight of the story. Without spoiling the ending the last act of the book didn't work as well as the first two acts. I mean I liked it enough to give it four of five stars. The book lost that fifth star by not providing an answer to the mystery that I found super believable.
I can't discuss it without spoiling the ending, but the person behind the theft of the daughter was something I didn't 100% buy into. That said the ending may work for others, and the novel along the way provides more than the cover price's value of scares. Nevill has a lyrical prose style but knows how to build an uncomfortable but fascinating world on the page.