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Saturday, 23 January 2016

‘The Abrupt Physics of Dying’ by Paul Hardisty

Published by Orenda Books,
15 December 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-91063-305-2

Be prepared for an abrupt plunge into a world of corruption, corporate greed and ruthless indifference to the fate of others, especially if they are poor, ignorant and powerless. 
A  major company is anxious to exploit the vast oil reserves beneath the Yemen desert, and doesn't give a damn about those who in the process will lose their ancestral homelands … without  compensation.
Claymore Straker, the flawed but likable protagonist of this  powerful novel, long ago lost his humanity, but after he and his driver – and friend – Abdulkader, are kidnapped in the desert, he recovers it.  The local leader and activist who has taken them captive gives him the option of forcing his employer, Petrotex, to investigate the strange illness affecting the poor villages of the Yemen – or abandoning Abdulkader to his death. 

Clay discovers that the water supplies which keep the villagers, their crops and their animals, alive, are systematically being poisoned in order to get rid of them and  thus facilitate the removal of oil from the ground beneath. 

Hardisty writes with energy, passion and anger about the rape of  this beleaguered area of the world  and emphasises the merciless quest for ever-increasing profits at the expense of people too poor to fight the multinational corporations which exploit them. 

It's interesting to note that in an interview, Hardisty stated that fiction offers more freedom than non-fiction to tell a true story.  I assume that most of the non-fiction he has based his novel on  is true – and because of that, his story is more chilling and terrifying than any standard crime horror book.

This is an exceptional and innovative novel.  And an important one.  Hardisty appears to know his territory intimately and describes in mind-grabbing detail its culture, its beliefs and its hopes.  I can't praise it highly enough. 
Reviewer: Susan Moody

Paul Hardisty  was born in Canada. He is a writer, chartered environmental engineer, university professor, and triathlete. He lives in Perth, Western Australia, with his wife Heidi, and sons Zachary and Declan. His first novel, The Abrupt Physics of Dying, is his first novel. It is a story of greed, corruption, and the power of redemption.

Susan Moody was born and brought up in Oxford.  She has published over 30 crime and suspense novels, including the Penny Wanawake series and the Cassandra Swann bridge series.  She is a past Chairman of the British Crime Writers' Association, a member of the Detection Club, a past Writer-in-Residence at the University of Tasmania and a past President of the International Association of Crime Writers.  She divides her time between south-west France and south-east Kent.   Nominated for the CWA short story award.  Nominated for the RNA's award. 

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