Thursday, September 21, 2017

Book Review: 'The Knowing' by David Graham

British author David Graham lives in Dublin, Ireland and gathers the material for his novels from his colorful life – he has been a barman, laborer, scaffolder, programmer, troubleshooter, designer and company director, working throughout Europe, particularly in Scandinavia. He has earned both his BA and MBA in Management.

David opens his book with a Prologue that demonstrates why his novels succeed – in a short pace he seduces our curiosity and begins the tale of horror to follow – ‘Imagine a world where something we embraced, and came to rely upon, suddenly turns out to be our worst nightmare; something that made trillions of dollars worldwide and is the economic mainstay for the biggest companies in the world; but also something that caused teenagers to run amok and kill their families and themselves. The ‘something’ turned out to be the toxic electromagnetic soup of the telecommunications industry and the technology it spawned. That was on top of trans fats and copper that had been eating away at children’s brains without anyone realising it. Countries were split on the issue: the UK went for an all-out ban; the US took the more expedient route of locking up the offending article – teenagers, in other words. The use of executive orders swept the problem conveniently under the White House carpet. Banning the technology proved to be a bonus for some, as electromagnetic radiation had been blocking paranormal abilities. Dai Williams was a case in point. He called his talent ‘hocus focus’ and it allowed him to ‘ping’ human minds to discover what made them tick. He could also do it to pigeons, although that was never particularly productive.’

Then we meet Dai Williams within the scope of the tale – ‘United by destiny, they must stand together to face an ancient evil. Ceri Edwards and two school friends lift the lid on an ancient book of recipes belonging to Betty Williams, a volunteer at the local hospital in Pontypridd, South Wales. Two Kansas City cops step off a flight at London Heathrow and one of them falls to the ground with a painful conviction that there's something evil in the air. United in their destinies, Ceri and the police officers are drawn into a world where prophecies are pitted against invisible forces planning to raze London to the ground and bring down the Royal Family. It all rests with Dai Williams, recently knighted MI5 agent and reluctant hero, to bring some order to the improbable events and to ensure that afternoon tea at The Ritz continues for another hundred years.'

Few writers can use the coarse language to such descriptive and necessary extremes as David Graham. This is gory reading but the story is so perfectly paced with a `cast of thousands' that the reader begins to feel like the only one with remaining sanity. Perhaps not a book for everyone, but for those who love being challenged by gruesome absurdity written to a fare-thee-well, this book is a must. Grady Harp, May 17

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.

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