Review #51: The Uninvited by Liz Jensen
Description from Amazon:
A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother’s neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry. Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger’s Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioral patterns and an outsider’s fascination with group dynamics. Nothing obvious connects Hesketh’s Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behavior of his beloved stepson, Freddy. But when Hesketh’s Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career, and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father.
This book was super interesting. Described on Amazon as part dystopian, part psychological thriller, this book certainly fits the bill. I tend to lean more towards psychological thrillers based in crime, so this was a definite interesting one for me to read. I thought it was an interesting narrative choice to tell the whole book from Hesketh’s (first person) perspective. Another author (Stephen King, for example), would have told it from multiple perspectives, given that the events of killer kids and suicidal saboteurs were occurring throughout the world. I think this helped to really isolate you into Hesketh’s world, which by itself is somewhat isolated due to the nature of his Asperger’s. He’s definitely an interesting character, and I enjoyed his perspective (even when it was sometimes a bit odd).
I do wish this book had more of the psychological thriller piece… even though the world is essentially fallen apart, I didn’t feel much sense of desperation or urgency NOR hope. This was kind of a weird experience — yes all these awful things were happening, but it was all so matter of fact. I kept wondering how the book would end and was very interested in continuing to read, so that was a positive. However, the end felt unresolved to me, and I also didn’t fully understand it, but perhaps that’s the nature of dystopian literature? There is no good answer in the end…
I do recommend this book in the end as I was engaged throughout and I enjoyed Hesketh and some of the curious events in the story.