Warmth by Sam Wolfson

Warmth

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An Aussie gets caught up in a global conspiracy after he becomes a suspect in a political assassination in Wolfson’s debut dystopian thriller.

John Frankston is a political adviser at Australia’s Parliament House in 2027, after rising oceans led to the devastating Great Global Flood. When John stumbles upon the cryptic email of his friend, politician Frank Tsoukalos, he’s apparently seen too much. Soon, Frank is dead, and John’s on the run, accused of murder. He’s quickly captured by tERROR (“The Earth’s Representatives for Revegetation, Order and Restoration”), an ecoterrorist faction responsible for worldwide assassinations and bombings. But tERROR leader Jenny Fitzgerald tells John that he should truly fear a powerful, secret organization called Them, which may have ties to Clive, a Canadian whose accurate predictions of global catastrophes ignited a new, immensely popular religion, Delugion. John teams up with armed tERROR members, including former Israeli Defence Force officer Karen Blackstone. Despite this fact, however, the book contains very little action. There aren’t, for example, any significant gunfights or massive car chase sequences. What the book does have, though, is an endlessly enjoyable conspiracy. There’s a good deal of back story: Karen, along with a man named James Thomas, were discredited as scientists by Them, and there may be more to a Paris bombing for which Jenny is allegedly responsible. There’s also elucidation from political figures who may be involved with Them, which sheds light on the group’s origins. Wolfson augments his plot with intrigue, including distrust within tERROR and a mysterious man called The Guest, who seems to be spearheading Them. There are so many secrets among the characters that Wolfson easily avoids the soapbox by presenting immoral followers of both religion and science. The final act has enough twists to leave many readers dizzy. Despite John’s hasty assertion that “The pieces were starting to fall together,” only some of them do, leaving at least a couple of issues unanswered for a possible sequel.

A gleefully convoluted tapestry of subplots that will have conspiracy theorists reading it a second time.

Publisher: Manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
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