The Uninvited by Liz Jensen (Bloomsbury)
by Patrick O’Connor
THERE is a chilling start to The Uninvited – a seven year old girl fires a nail gun into her grandmother’s neck.
At first this seems an isolated incident but when more families suffer violent attacks at the hands of their own children, a pattern emerges.
At the same time anthropologist Hesketh Lock is investigating supposedly unrelated cases of industrial sabotage followed by the perpetrator’s suicide.
The author has created a fascinating central character in Lock who has Asperger’s Syndrome and views what’s going on around him in a very unusual and detached fashion. At times he is difficult to like because of his lack of emotional involvement but the author skilfully makes us want to stay with him.
Gradually Lock establishes a link between the two outbreaks whilst coping with an estranged partner and her young son who also begins to show disturbing changes in his behaviour.
Jensen has conjured up a distinctly unusual sci-fi/environmental thriller in which the world faces a very real threat of collapse as incidents increase dramatically throughout the globe.
She teases the reader with clues and dead-ends which makes this journey even more enjoyable.