Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Buried Life by Carrie Patel - an early review

North American Print
Date: 29th July 2014
ISBN: 9780857665218
Format: Mass Market Paperback
R.R.P.: US$7.99 CAN$9.99

I mostly read thrillers that happen in today's reality, but that doesn't stop me from enjoying a change of scenery from time to time. The crime fiction world is vast and we can read historical, scientific, medical, and so on thrillers as well as SF crim fiction. When I saw this novel published by Angry Robot, which I must say, publishes excellent writers, I said "bingo". Although science fiction is not what I read, why not try it? I also had the chance to have Carrie Patel, the author, in an interview on my blog, here it is!

The blurb

The gaslight and shadows of the underground city of Recoletta hide secrets and lies. When Inspector Liesl Malone investigates the murder of a renowned historian, she finds herself stonewalled by the all-powerful Directorate of Preservation – Recoletta’s top-secret historical research facility.

When a second high-profile murder threatens the very fabric of city society, Malone and her rookie partner Rafe Sundar must tread carefully, lest they fall victim to not only the criminals they seek, but the government which purports to protect them. Knowledge is power, and power must be preserved at all costs…

What's good about that book

I like to discover new worlds, worlds that could be real, a little post-apocalyptic but interesting and that's what offers Carrie Patel who has imagined an underground world in a dystopian universe. The construction of her world is well done: we easily imagine ourselves underground, we picture the many different factions (the rich, the workers, the middle class) more pronounced than in reality, as they are more physically separated. The grip on all the knowledge by the government and the way people are manage are very typical of a dictatorship. I enjoyed the rivalry between the two law enforcement agencies (much like the animosity between FBI and police). Who will do the investigation, who has the right to ask certain questions, who will ensure the safety of potential victims, are questions that Malone will face.  

Talking characters. Malone seems to be the main character if one sticks to the blurb and actually, in the first chapter, we discover her in pursuit of a thug. She is strong, brave, intelligent and a tad strong-headed. In short, a well presented character one wants to follow. But Malone is not the only main character. Jane Lin, a laundress, is at the heart of the investigation and it's her we follow the most. Gradually, in the novel, Malone is less present and Jane takes things in her hand and thanks to her, the investigation is really progressing. 

As for the plot, Malone and Rafe try to investigate despite various resistances they face and must continue in secret when the Commission withdraws the case. The political side of the investigation is well conducted, it's very realistic and we follow with pleasure the law blows and other tricks necessary to continue the investigation. A little drawback at the end of the book: everything happens quickly, the explanations are too easily given by the guilty party and there's a fast change of sides that I did not really understood nor appreciated. 

In a nutshell

Overall a good book, fun to read, a well-imagined world and whose strongest character, Jane Lin, is pleasant to discover. This is a 3.5 / 5 for me.

Warning: An e- galley of this title was provided to me by the publisher. No review has been promised and chronic above is an unbiased review of the novel.

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