Monday, June 25, 2018

Brief Mention, THE COMPLETIONIST, Siobhan Adcock

This new dystopian suspense thriller offers up "near-future America" as a male-dominated police state after a environmental collapse -- where the very stuff of life, water itself, has to be engineered. As a result of its disastrous effects on the birth rate, pregnancy is suddenly a "must do" if it's possible -- any fertile woman is compelled to bear her child, and women must give up their lives beyond intense parenting, in order to devote "Care Hours" to their offspring, for best and most productive survival.

The title of Siobhan Adcock's THE COMPLETIONIST refers to the term the author uses for a nurse-midwife who nurtures a pregnancy to its successful birth -- and it's the career of Gardner Quinn, the missing sister of war veteran Carter Quinn. Quinn, a veteran of the water protection wars, has extreme PTSD and linked substance abuse problems. But he'd determined to respond to the request of his other sister, Fredrika, and search for Gardner.

What he can't foresee, of course, is the damage he'll do to his own family while trying to redeem it.

Adcock's earlier book, The Barter, also focused on motherhood, but from a very different approach. In shaping THE COMPLETIONIST as a dystopian crime novel, she made inevitable the comparisons with Margaret Atwood's grimly powerful The Handmaid's Tale. But Adcock is not a literary writer -- she's tuned to the quick pace and twists of a thriller instead -- and her conclusion doesn't hold up the weight of the topic she'd tackled. Read this one as a page-turner, and keep expectations modest: It's not a "change your life" book, despite the social themes. I enjoyed it, but found the ending a bit drab compared to some of the high suspense earlier in the book.

Simon & Schuster brought this out, and it's a June release.

PS:  Looking for more mystery reviews, from cozy to very dark? Browse the Kingdom Books mysteries review blog here.

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