Towards White Book Review

Towards White
Zena Shapter
Publisher: IFWG Publishing
First Published: 2017
RRP: $29.95

Disclaimer: Zena and I attend the same write in group once a month-ish. However, the publisher gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Interesting fact about me: I actually don’t read much sci fi (though I enjoy watching it). My brain switches off as soon as things get technical. I do love thrillers and mysteries and a healthy dose of cynicism alongside my government official of the week. Towards White straddles both genres.

From the blurb:

Scientists in Iceland think they’ve figured out one of our greatest mysteries – where the electrical energy in our brains goes after we die. According to the laws of physics, one form of energy must always become another form. So the electrical energy in our brains and nervous system can’t simply disappear…

When ex-lawyer Becky Dales travels to Iceland to track down her missing brother, she doesn’t care about the groundbreaking discoveries, or the positive-thinking practiced by the Icelanders – she just wants her brother back. Having stumbled on something she thinks the Icelandic government wants covered up, Becky must piece together the answers fast… before she becomes a victim herself.

Normally this sort of story wouldn’t be my cup of tea. However, because Shapter is adept at combining cliffhanger thrills alongside science, my interest in the plot was maintained throughout. The Icelandic scenery coupled with dodgy government officials and shady cover ups will remind readers of Scandi Noir TV and film. The writing is lush enough to bring such shows to mind. The science fiction side of the world building is also strong. I never felt like I was reading about a story that couldn’t exist. Sometimes I read stories where I can’t suspend disbelief because the world feels so unreal. Though Towards White features near perfect crime detection technology and ghosts, the explanations feel realistic.

Another strong point to this novel is the characters. I felt that Becky’s love for Mark was built up believably over the story arc and her relationships with other characters made perfect sense in terms of the events that unfolded. I especially liked Anna and Ari. In some ways, the types of characters and the plot reminded me of some of Dan Brown’s better novels, except more competently written and with more complex back stories. I’d definitely read more of Shapter’s work and be less afraid of picking up something not in my usual genre next time.

If you enjoy well written sci with a thriller bent in a believable world and setting, I think Towards White could be for you.

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