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A multidimensional hero in this multi-layered mystery thriller

refuse_generation

Refuse Generation
By David Palmer

This book is a mystery thriller – on two levels – gripping thriller on the surface, intellectual challenge underneath.

New Zealand garbage collector, Farrari Auva’a, is drawn by a letter uncovered in rubbish, into a mystery full of suspense and intrigue. There are murderers and manipulators, professors and businessmen, and it takes him across the world through plane rides and peaceful countryside, car chases and awe-inspiring historical sites. On the surface.

Underneath, though, is the mystery of personal identity in a time of change. This is highlighted in several of the characters but particularly Ferrari, as they search themselves and their family relationships, their cultural ties, career paths and spirituality.

Author, David Palmer, has used his other interests – in war and history – to tie all of these together with the thriller narrative, and maintain the thread of refuse.

The combination of Stranger in a Strange Land and Hero’s journey works well, though I occasionally felt the need for an easier transition from high drama to contemplation. While I’m sure the details of the ancient codex were vital to the narrative, I have to admit to skipping a few pages in my urge to see what the thrilling outcome would be. It’s as if Palmer invited his readers onto the journey with him and stands beside them as reader and writer. Some of his descriptions are incredibly evocative …”A scalloping of wastewater stain rosettes on the carpet pile failed to conceal a floral design evoking a more gracious age”, for example…but this one went a bit beyond that “They followed a haze-abraded plain chitinous with industrial pullulations.” I must say it got my attention!

This sort of language, though, becomes part of the mysterious undercurrent -which in turn highlights the intuitive problem-solving amid rationality in the upper level of mystery.

I just hope there is a sequel where we see more of the mystery that is the multidimensional Ferrari, and of the beautiful culture and countryside that is his New Zealand.

Bronwyn Ritchie
Your Story Matters at PivotalBookClub.com

From the Pivotal Book Club Archives: the winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and an addictive mystery

A Visit from the Goon Squad

Jennifer Egan

Readers will be pleased to discover that the star-crossed marriage of lucid prose and expertly deployed postmodern switcheroos that helped shoot Egan to the top of the genre-bending new school is alive in well in this graceful yet wild novel. http://bit.ly/NGzg08

When We Have Wings

Clair Corbett

This book is intoxicating; it made me imagine things I never imagined before. The world of flying is so complete, so detailed and real, it was as if I was flying, as if I could feel my wings. This is an addictive mystery, clever and compelling.’ Jane Campion, director of The Pianoand Bright Star
=> http://bit.ly/fgzrK9

From the pre-loved department … Under Orders by dick Francis

Under Orders
~ by Dick Francis
It’s the third death on Cheltenham Gold Cup Day that really troubles super-sleuth Sid Halley. Former champion jockey Halley knows the perils of racing all too well – but in his day, jockeys didn’t usually reach the finishing line with three .38 rounds in the chest….=> http://bit.ly/mCr6bb

Edgar-winner Coben’s 10th Myron Bolitar novel (after Long Lost) is a perfect 10

Live Wire

by Harlan Coben

Edgar-winner Coben’s 10th Myron Bolitar novel (after Long Lost) is a perfect 10: providing readers with new information about the past of the former athlete turned agent and owner of MB Reps; a satisfyingly complex mystery; and the always entertaining, sometimes shocking exploits of Bolitar’s partner and friend, Windsor Horne Lockwood III (aka Win).

=> http://bit.ly/izSaPO

Today’s must-read – a whodunnit from Jodi Picoult

House Rules: A Novel

The prolific Picoult crafts a cunning whodunit that explores what it’s like to be not only a teenager with Asperger’s syndrome but also an AS kid accused of murder.  Told from multiple viewpoints, including those of an empathetic detective and an eager but wet-behind-the-ears attorney, the mystery unfolds at a spellbinding pace. But Picoult also does an exceptional job communicating the complexities of Asperger’s syndrome and the challenges confronting AS families. Faithful Picoult fans will whisk this off the shelves, but devoted readers of savvy courtroom dramas should also give it a try.