cover image The Body by the Shore

The Body by the Shore

Tabish Khair. Interlink, $16 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-62371-846-6

The stories of several characters intertwine in this ambitious if disjointed mystery thriller with science fiction elements set in the early 2030s from Khair (The Thing About Thugs). Michelle, a quick-witted young woman working as a housekeeper on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, accepts a suspiciously high-paid job as a cook on an oil rig in the middle of the North Sea. Jens Erik, a semiretired policeman in Aarhus, Denmark, decides to reexamine the case of a young man who washed up on the banks of a local stream years earlier, only to discover that the key police reports related to the “untraceable foreigner” have disappeared from the case file. Harris Maloub, a former assassin for a secret agency, is called in to investigate the deaths of several scientists who had attended an international seminar called “Mind, Body and Soul: The Cognitive Sciences and Religion” held at Aarhus University in 2012. The various plot strands converge on a daring escape Michelle makes from the oil rig. The book’s historical and scientific underpinnings, as fascinating as they are, amount to information dumps that too often stand in the way of the narrative. This stew of genre tropes fails to satisfy. (Apr.)