Jonathan Barnes. Solaris, $9.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-78108-297-3
A giddy synthesis of Gothic horror and dystopian satire propels this vividly plotted, cinematic genre-bender. Matthew Cannonbridge was the genius of his age, “the greatest writer of the 19th century, its very spirit, its dark soul.” He was prolific, charismatic, an equal intimate of Mary Shelley and Arthur Conan Doyle... and, according to beleaguered scholar Toby Judd, who lives sometime in our near future, he was a “colossal and outrageous fraud.” When Toby’s career-tanking lecture on the “Cannonbridge Delusion” goes viral, his life plunges into an outlandish escalation of conspiracy: a murdered policeman, a toffee-chewing killer, two secretive sisters, an ex-military waitress, a mysterious island, and the ominous question: “What’s an investment bank’s interest in Victorian literature?” Barnes (The Domino Men) takes the premise of a literary thriller and supercharges it with hints of science fiction and an appropriately Dickensian style, intercutting Toby’s slightly futuristic world with star-studded encounters from Cannonbridge’s past. Only the final twist overreaches in pursuit of unpredictability. Agent: Robert Dinsdale, Imber Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 02/10/2015
Genre: Fiction
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