The Uninvited – By Liz Jensen
This intriguing new crime novel caught my eye at work: children inexplicably start killing their parents, before lapsing into a passive, fugue state and not recalling the murders. Creepy, interesting premise. Here’s my take on the follow through:
Hesketh Lock is an anthropologist by trade, brilliant at identifying patterns both in nature and in people, which makes him an excellent investigator for Phipps & Wexman. Currently, he’s working on uncovering the links between a series of corporate sabotages carried out by seemingly loyal employees, in dozens of unrelated companies all over the world. Add these strange occurrences to the outbreak of child murders and Hesketh is sure there’s a bigger, more dangerous pattern emerging – the implications of which may be felt for generations to come.
This novel has a compelling and creepy central mystery – is it just me, or are murderous children more frightening than their grown up counterparts? Hesketh, our protagonist, is an absolutely wonderful character. He has Asperger’s syndrome, and provides the reader with a unique perspective not only on his inner thought processes but also on the world through his eyes. I loved Hesketh for his incredibly unique and yet surprisingly relatable personality.
I also thoroughly enjoyed Jensen’s writing, which is well-paced, atmospheric and beautifully expressive, from terror to genuine reactions to moments of tenderness and even comedy amidst the chaos. She is an author who understands exactly how to pull the reader into the tale she weaves, and does so expertly.
I liked almost everything about this story. The only thing I found problematic was where the plot ended up: the reason for all the incidents, and the outcome. At risk of spoiling the twist – it gets a little bit supernatural, or paranormal. And I really didn’t expect that. I’m not certain whether I would have been more on board with the twist had I anticipated the direction Jensen was headed. I’m also not sure I didn’t miss the point somewhere; if I was supposed to be delighted with the revelation that this wasn’t your regular good-cop-bad-guys story? It was certainly a twist, but for me it wasn’t a particularly welcome one, rather one that left me wondering how I could have been so off base in expecting a mundane explanation and/or solution.
I think this novel would be an amazing experience if you know a little more about what to expect going in, because in spite being taken aback by the plot’s direction, I admired Jensen’s story, and enjoyed the book.
So, now that you have a little context – read the book and tell me what you thought of Jensen’s approach to the modern thriller!