Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Blog Tour: Review + Extract for Devour by L A Larkin (Thriller, 10E/10E)

26th January 2017, Constable, 416 pages, Paperback, Review copy

Content: a lot of violence, torture, 1 scene of strong adult romance

Summary from Little, Brown
Their greatest fear was contaminating an ancient Antarctic lake, buried beneath the ice for millions of years. They little knew the catastrophe they were about to unleash.

Welcome to the high octane world of Olivia Wolfe.

As an investigative journalist, Wolfe lives her life in constant peril. Hunted by numerous enemies who are seldom what the first seem, she must unravel a complex web of lies to uncover an even more terrifying truth.

From the poppy palaces of Afghanistan and Antarctica's forbidding wind-swept ice sheets, to a top-secret military base in the Nevada desert, Wolfe's journey will ultimately lead her to a man who would obliterate civilisation. She must make an impossible choice: save a life - or prevent the death of millions.
Nayu's thoughts 
With only a few pages left to read I was already contemplating what I was going to say in this review, that I'd never read a book like it, that I should have seen the clue in an earlier incident, that I both loved and hated it in equal measure. Well, I should know better that  in every book the end isn't the end until the end, and even then it's almost always a new beginning. 

I came to this book because I wasn't interested in a political thriller, so the lovely publicist suggested I may like this one. I read the blurb and immediately thought of Ice Station by Matthew Reilley which I positively adored when I first read it and kept liking it on subsequent rereads, so I said yes to reviewing Devour and being a stop on the blog tour. 

While for thrillers I can be more used to constant action/danger on every page, this story worked for having a bit of build up and not always continuous action (the action parts were brilliant!) There was underlying danger, of course, but the breathers were welcomed by me because of the violent nature of some of the action scenes.

It's obviously very different from Ice Station in most of the aspects: non military background (but still some military input), female main character (who makes choices I don't fully understand). The key elements which make me like thrillers are in both Ice Station and Devour in plentiful supply. I promise this is a Devour review! I liked the underlying stalker plot, as I had no clue who it was and it jeopardized Olivia's life and work in equal measure. I loved how she constantly ran into trouble. I'm so used to reading novels where the protagonist almost gets into trouble multiple times but is saved at the last minute. Olivia doesn't really get saved often/at all. That's why so close to the end I was sketching out how to say how much I strongly disliked it. 

It's a hard hitting read. There's about 1 instance of romance (I think it's strong, I skimmed past it). There's scenes of torture, and the one instance I originally thought was a hint for what I believed the end to be was so horrid I seriously almost put the book down unfinished. But I wanted to know what happened in the end, and everything that happens is entirely necessary to the story. Disaster stories are not a priority read for me, because I avoid reading the news at all costs because it's too easy for me to imagine not so pleasant circumstances happening in real life. Which is why as soon as this review is written I'm heading to reliably fluffy  anime and upbeat video games to cheer me up.

Olivia fascinates me. She is pretty isolated in so far as she doesn't let many people close to her. This is touched upon in the story and used in the plot. It seems those she does trust she ends up mistrusting at some point in Devour. I'm surprised she isn't struggling more emotionally with all the horrors that she's seen, and that despite her emotions she managed to think straight in multiple crisis points. She does get help from other characters, but most of the time she's the key player. 

I loved the fact that she didn't stay for that long in Antartica, which really did remind me of Ice Station (minus the killer whales...), she sure travelled all around the world a lot in those 400 odd pages! Not always willingly, and trouble accompanies her everywhere. 

I think I like that she's not military trained. She's extremely resourceful in both how she gets information, and how she protects herself. She uses what's around her, which isn't necessarily obvious weaponry, a very good tactic I learned in my favourite fantasy series of all time by Mercedes Lackey (about the Heralds of  Valdemar, spanning over 20 books). That's the kind of protagonist I love, one who uses her brains.

Sure I may not agree with Olivia's life choices  (not all those piercings...), but she seeks to help others by entering dangerous situations in order to find the truth. I know I couldn't do that, that's not me at all. I like to stay safe! One of the random awesome sides of Olivia is that she rides a motorbike!!!!! I can't due to health issues, but I absolutely love them, and one of my favourite anime Noir (female assassin anime) see the main character use a scooter. ^o^ 

I'm delighted to have found a new thriller series, and while for me personally I won't be able to read other books by L A Larkin for at least month (to get over this one), I'm looking forward to when I do read them, especially the next book in Olivia's adventures! There's much to get into with the stalker issue that I'm at the edge of my seat for in anticipation!

Find out more on L A Larkin's website. 

Join in the conversation: @lalarkinauthor #DevourTheBook

And enjoy this extract from Devour! as part of the blog tour! 

An extract from Devour, the new book by L.A. Larkin

A gloved hand uses bolt cutters to break the padlocks on each wooden crate containing the precious Lake Ellsworth samples. There’s no danger the loud crack of the metal snapping will penetrate the thick walls of the ice cave or be heard above the moaning, thirty-knot winds. 

The cave entrance is barely wide enough to fit a man on all fours. It slopes down gently to a metre’s depth and then widens into a circular shape, the ceiling high enough to give a man crouching room. His tracks are already covered, the winds whip­ping up surface ice particles and blowing them along the ground through gaps between tents and storage containers, like ghosts using the site as a race circuit. The figure in the ice cave is insu­lated from the wind’s battering and kneels next to the first chest, hood raised, white lab mask over nose and mouth. Underneath, thermal gloves are latex ones to protect his skin from the boxes’ contents. Over thermal leggings, waterproof trousers are sealed tight at the ankles with tape. Over his rubber boots are two layers of sterile blue booties. 

Inside the first chest is a large, blue plastic cool box. He flicks up the four clips holding the lid down and carefully places it on the floor, then stares down at the fifteen pressurised titanium cylinders containing the living water samples. They are stacked like miniature torpedoes. With both hands, he reaches into the box and lifts the first of the thirty-centimetre-long containers and, cradling it like an injured animal, he wraps it in clothing and places it inside a draw-stringed kit bag. He then picks up the next cylinder, shuffles a few feet away and places it on the ice floor. There is a moment’s hesitation as the thief glances behind, through the tunnel-like cave entrance. Everyone else is asleep, dead to the world through exhaustion or alcohol or both. Alarms are set for eight. No need to rush. 

The pressure valve is slowly opened and the air hisses out. Then the cylinder’s plug is unscrewed. There’s an initial pop and more hissing. The pressure gauge’s needle drops rapidly. Once again his hands cease their movement, a moment of reflection. But not for long. He knows what has to be done. The cylinder’s watery content is tipped on to the ice, freezing almost instantly, leaving only a pale stain, a distant memory. He’s careful to avoid any direct contact with the organisms. The saboteur re-seals the empty cylinder, placing it on the ground. He repeats the same exercise thirteen times, until all the Lake Ellsworth water samples are destroyed, save for the very first cylinder safely concealed in his kit bag. Then the fourteen empty canisters are stacked back in the blue cool box. The stolen cylinder is replaced with a brand-new one, which brings the total number back up to fifteen. The cool box is clipped shut and the wooden crate closed. The broken padlock is pocketed and an identical one takes its place. 

Now for the twelve sediment samples in the next crate. Trickier to cover his tracks as the muddy sediment will stain the white cave floor. To make it less likely somebody will notice the gritty residue, the destroyer of ten years’ planning and preparation – of ancient life forms never before seen – decides to carry each sediment-filled cylinder out of the cave and dump the alien contents behind the generators, where very few ever go. 

                After twelve trips back and forth, his muscles ache. The now-empty cylinders are returned to their crate and padlocked. With any luck, the destruction won’t be discovered until the crates are opened on British soil.

1 comment:

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