Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Glow by Ned Beauman
Knopf Doubleday: 1/20/2015
eBook, 256 pages
ISBN-13: 9780385352604

South London, May 2010: foxes are behaving strangely, Burmese immigrants are going missing, and everyone is trying to get hold of a new party drug called Glow. A young man suffering from a rare sleep disorder will uncover the connections between all these anomalies in this taut, riveting new novel.
Twenty-two-year-old Raf spends his days walking Rose, a bull terrier who guards the transmitters for a pirate radio station, and his nights at raves in warehouses and launderettes. When his friend Theo vanishes without a trace, Raf’s efforts to find him will lead straight into the heart of a global corporate conspiracy. Meanwhile, he’s falling in love with a beautiful young woman he met at one of those raves, but he’ll soon discover that there is far more to Cherish than meets the eye. 
Combining the pace, drama, and explosive plot twists of a thriller with his trademark intellectual, linguistic, and comedic pyrotechnics, Glow is Ned Beauman’s most compelling, virtuosic, and compulsively readable novel yet.
My Thoughts:

Glow by Ned Beauman is a recommended global conspiracy novel that encompasses the recreational drug subculture, foxes, and Burmese immigrants.
Twenty-two year old Raf spots Cherish at a rave in south London and is instantly attracted to her. "When he first sees her, Raf is sitting on a washing machine about to swallow an eighth of a gram of what is apparently a mixture of speed, monosodium glutamate, and an experimental social anxiety disorder medication for dogs." At the rave while exchanging/discussing various recreational drugs available, he hears about the new drug, glow, for the first time.
“When is there going to be good ecstasy again?” Raf says.
“Maybe never,” says Isaac. “We need to get hold of some glow.”
“What’s that?”
“You know, that new stuff. Barky said it was the best thing he’d ever taken. Ever in his whole life.”

Between his longing for the half-Burmese Cherish and wanting to explore how the new drug glow could potentially help him with his sleep disorder, Raf's inquiries begin when he is trying to find information about the  kidnapping of his friend, Theo. Apparently a silent white van grabbed him off the street - and these same vans are kidnapping all the Burmese people they see. Everything begins to tie into the multinational Lacebark corporation. And what is it with all the foxes Raf is suddenly seeing everywhere? 

Glow is a novel that taps into the current generation of teens/twenty somethings with the raves and recreational/experimental drug usage. Beauman captures the slacker scene and interweaves the present day with the backstory of various characters, corporate activities, and the chemical composition of various drugs, while searching for glow. While it is definitely well written with some great descriptions, and I admittedly basically found it entertaining, and humorous in parts, I also think the target audience for Glow is (much) younger than this reviewer. I wanted to tell the "kids" to stop the random drug usage.
Previously published in the UK, this review is for the USA release.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of
Knopf Doubleday for review purposes.

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