My latest reads: The Feed, An Anatomy of a Scandal and A Fatal Drug

I love dystopian thrillers and have done ever since I read Nevil Shute’s On the Beach. The Feed of Nick Clark Windo’s debut refers to the virtual reality network which governs society in the near future. People have stopped talking to each other and communicate via a feed which allows family and friends long distances from each other to chat as if in the same room. One day, the feed is destroyed and Tom and Kate are forced, with their young daughter, to live in a society where no-one is able to fall asleep unwatched in case they are ‘taken’, their bodies invaded by an alien force.

The Feed is a complex but entertaining book. The ‘reality’ of the alternative world that Windo has created takes a while to get your head around but once you immerse yourself in the narrative, it’s a very rich read.

An Anatomy of A Scandal is a stylish thriller from Sarah Vaughan. Married government minister, James, admits to having an affair with a much younger colleague who accuses him of a sexual assault. His wife Sophie, who has known him since their student days at Oxford, is convinced of his innocence but the prosecuting barrister, Kate, is certain he is guilty and determined to bring him to justice. As the trial approaches, the women are forced to confront their respective pasts and the actions of a charismatic man who appears to be protected by the prime minister.

An Anatomy of a Scandal is a thoughtful, well-written thriller which explores the nature of relationships and how closely we’re prepared to look at personality of those around us . As a reader who doesn’t read many courtroom based crime novels, I thought these scenes were among the best and a fascinating glimpse into the world of prosecuting sex crimes. Given the quality of the prose, I’m unsurprised that the book is riding high in the book charts.

Tony R Cox is a former journalist and he uses his experience of working on local news to great effect in A Fatal DrugSet in 1971, ambitious Derby reporter Simon Jardine reports on a mutilated body found in a hotel. Sensing a story, he digs deeper and uncovers a drugs network that extends from the Midlands to Spain. Cox’s depiction of seventies journalism is fascinating and it makes you long for the days of strong local news. You forget that, underneath the ‘peace and love’ portrayal of seventies hallucinogens there was a vicious side to drug supply and addiction. Cox provides an authentic portrayal of a cat and mouse chase around the brothels and drug houses in the city and I can’t wait to read the next book, Vinyl Junkie.

This post is dedicated to an Australian blogging friend of mine, Bernadette from Reactions to Reading, who sadly died recently. Bernadette was hugely supportive of both my writing and blogging and her own reviews were honest and uncompromising. I’ll miss reading her thoughts on both bestselling novels and those of crime writers who don’t receive the attention they deserve.