Monday, September 2, 2019

The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man

The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man by Dave Hutchinson
Solaris: 9/3/19
eBook review copy; 336 pages
ISBN-13: 9781781085844 

The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man by Dave Hutchinson is a highly recommended science fiction thriller.

Multibillionaire Stanislaw Clayton has bought a town and county in Iowa to build his dream supercollider, but now he needs someone to write about the evolution of Sioux Crossing and his project. Clayton recruits and hires Alex Dolan to write some articles and a book about the Sioux Crossing, Iowa, Supercollider.  Alex is a Scottish science/tech journalist living in Boston who has been struggling to make a living, so the generous offer is too tempting to pass up. When Alex arrives to look over the town and everyone in the town knows who he is and why he is there, he begins to find the town a little unsettling, especially when a few people tell him to get out why he can. Alex, however, needs the money and can't back out anyway because a spy at the British embassy in Minneapolis has contacted him and threatened deportation if he doesn't spy on the facility for him.

From this beginning, when it seems to be just a mystery and you're expecting problems on the collider campus, the narrative rolls along, intriguing and interesting with little sightings and observations of odd, disturbing occurrences popping up now and then. And, make no mistake, it is a compelling plot and had my attention but I was waiting for the titular theme promised by the title. When that hits, in the last quarter of the book, the novel absolutely erupts and I dare you to set it aside. It's at this point that the narrative is all-consuming, riveting and engrossing. There was no way I was going to stop reading.

Now, I'm going to admit that there were some issues with the narrative, especially in saving the big bang for essentially the end, when it could have been explored and used to the advantage of the plot sooner. The lead up to the final quarter was great as a mystery, but it would have made for an even stronger and more exciting story line if what was the last twenty-five percent of the plot had been extended and further developed. The ending felt rushed and I was left wanting more. I did like it quite a bit, though, and do highly recommend The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Solaris.

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