The Uninvited

Liz Jensen. Bloomsbury, $24 (320p) ISBN 978-1-60819-992-1
An epidemic outbreak of corporate sabotage and murderous children fuels this cerebral thriller from English writer Jensen (The Rapture). Hired to find an explanation for the chaos is Phipps & Wexman, the multinational legal firm that employs Hesketh Lock as a “cross-culture specialist.” In an unusual twist, Hesketh is an anthropologist whose Asperger syndrome allows him to study human behavior at a remove (and ends most of his romantic relationships almost before they begin). The saboteurs, it turns out, are all employees trying to bring down their own corporations: in Taiwan, one blows the whistle on an illegal-logging coverup; another, in Sweden, fouls a deal in coffee futures, costing his bank millions; and in Dubai, an employee of a multinational construction company alters figures and “screws up his company’s business across five continents.” Each saboteur commits suicide under baffling circumstances, but it’s not until Dubai, where Hesketh witnesses a man’s “surprisingly elegant” suicide when a small, ragged child appears, that he begins to see connections. Hesketh gradually discovers that the children constitute a tribe of sorts, with a “group consciousness” and their own language. They also have a mysterious craving for salt, as do the saboteurs. All of this has global ramifications, ratcheting up the suspense as the narrative picks up speed. Complementing the larger investigation is Hesketh’s relationship to his beloved stepson, who has attempted to kill his mother. Are the children genetic “mutants”? Have they come from the future to wreak havoc? Jensen never says, and her denouement is eerie and foreboding, leaving unanswered as many questions as it addresses. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Associates. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/2012
Release date: 01/08/2013
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-62040-026-5
Paperback - 306 pages - 978-1-62040-117-0
Hardcover - 320 pages - 978-0-606-31912-6
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