Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Book Review: "Scorch City"

I absolutely loved Toby Ball's 2010 debut The Vaults (my review), and I'm incredibly pleased to report that his followup novel, Scorch City (St. Martin's Press, 2011) does anything but disappoint.

We find ourselves back in Ball's "City" in the summer of 1950 some fifteen years after the events of The Vaults. Political, religious, and racial tensions have come to a roiling boil, pitting the black Uhuru Community, perhaps allied with Communist sympathizers, against the virulent anti-Communists of the City, whose numbers include not a few members of the police force.

Investigative reporter Frank Frings and detective Piet Westermann are called upon by the Community's leaders to simply move a murder victim's body so that suspicions won't fall upon innocents, but of course doing so sets into motion a series of unexpected consequences that could lead to the end of the City itself.

Once again Ball's put together a cast of memorable characters, none entirely good and none without their own motivations and concerns.

Dark, gritty, and absolutely riveting. I had a difficult time doing anything else once I started reading.

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