As a Scotsman I love a freebie. So it was with the same gusto as an Aberdonian at a wedding scramble that I picked up Sparrow Rock the fourth leisure release by Nate Kenyon. He was giving away free PDF’s of this book to stir up interest in it, by asking those who took a copy to publish a review. Hopefully for him this has paid off and brought in may new readers, certainly the buzz doing the rounds on the message boards I frequent is very positive and the review from my favourite and most trusted blog Dead in The South was very favourable indeed.
Sparrow rock tells the tale of a small group of teenage friends, who one night decide to go and get drunk and smoke pot, in the bomb shelter built by the Grandfather of one of them. Why do teenagers in these novels always have way more fun than I ever did. While they are having a good time in the shelter, the world as we know ends in a fiery nuclear holocost.
The survivors holed up in the bomb shelter, soon realise they have to face more than just surviving a nuclear winter, there are things out there, things that want inside.
Nate piles on the tension from the get go, and keeps on piling it on and on, building up a real sense of claustrophobia and hopelessness against a seemingly unstoppable foe. As the story unfolds we discover that their night of fun in the shelter was not just a lucky chance, they were meant to be there, revealing a global conspiracy that has built since the second world war.
If you are looking for a point of reference, then the sense of claustrophobia that oozes from this novel is comparable to John Carpenters The Thing. Yes the book is that good, Kenyon has developed tremendously as a writer since his first two novels. The sense of dread, fear and isolation is so strong that it stays with you a long time after reading it, you almost become as isolated as the protagonists in the novel. With these end of the world novels it is always hard to come up with a good believable and satisfying ending, not so here I thought the ending was perfect
I have previously only read two of Nate’s earlier books, Bloodstone and The Reach, his first two releases. These were decent, if not excellent reads typical of most of Leisure’s releases lately. I have had his third, The Bone Factory in my TBR pile since Christmas, and have always meant to get round to it. Something I now plan on rectifyng after I finish the book I’m reading now.