Three New-in-2022 books I read last week…
The Night Shift by Alex Finlay (Release date: March 1, 2022)
It’s New Year’s Eve 1999. Y2K is expected to end in chaos: planes falling from the sky, elevators plunging to earth, world markets collapsing. A digital apocalypse. None of that happens. But at a Blockbuster Video in Linden, New Jersey, four teenage girls working the night shift are attacked. Only one survives. Police quickly identify a suspect who flees and is never seen again.
Fifteen years later, in the same town, four teenage employees working late at an ice cream store are attacked, and again only one makes it out alive.
Both surviving victims recall the killer speaking only a few final words… “Goodnight, pretty girl.”
In the aftermath, three lives intersect: the survivor of the Blockbuster massacre who’s forced to relive her tragedy; the brother of the original suspect, who’s convinced the police have it wrong; and the FBI agent, who’s determined to solve both cases. On a collision course toward the truth, all three lives will forever be changed, and not everyone will make it out alive.
My thoughts: Not a bad little thriller. Some interesting twists and turns keep the reader engaged despite a narrative that, at times, plod along. The characters are a little flat with the exception of our almost 9 month pregnant (with twins!) FBI investigator whose mere existence stretches credulity. In the end, it all comes together in fairly satisfying fashion, but so far as entries in this genre go, it doesn’t really stand apart. A solid B.
Haven by Emma Donoghue (Release date: August 23, 2022)
In seventh-century Ireland, a scholar and priest called Artt has a dream telling him to leave the sinful world behind. Taking two monks—young Trian and old Cormac—he rows down the river Shannon in search of an isolated spot on which to found a monastery. Drifting out into the Atlantic, the three men find an impossibly steep, bare island inhabited by tens of thousands of birds, and claim it for God. In such a place, what will survival mean?
My thoughts: There’s an eloquence to Donoghue’s prose, a remarkable deftness in its ability to immerse readers in her beautifully realized worlds and draw them into the lives of her unique and complex characters. I just wish it was in service to a story that offered more than this curtailed journey. The setting is wonderfully atmospheric and one can’t help but feel for this trio, sympathizing with their respective struggles, but the ending simply peters out rather than landing with an emotional resonance that pays off the hitherto fascinating build-up. There’s a late twist that, while subtly set-up in hindsight, feels a little “out there” and disconnected to the standing narrative. Overall, an engaging ride that comes up short.
Fossil Future by Alex Epstein (Release date: May 24, 2022)
What does the future hold? In Fossil Future, Epstein, applying his distinctive “human flourishing framework” to the latest evidence, comes to the shocking conclusion that the benefits of fossil fuels will continue to far outweigh their side effects–including climate impacts–for generations to come. The path to global human flourishing, Epstein argues, is a combination of using more fossil fuels, getting better at “climate mastery,” and establishing “energy freedom” policies that allow nuclear and other truly promising alternatives to reach their full long-term potential.
My thoughts: This interesting book makes a case for fossil fuels against the prevailing public sentiment and the growing ESG movement. Epstein’s argument is fairly straight-forward and admittedly compelling, focusing first on the historical benefits of fossil fuels as a relatively cheap and reliable energy source and its potential to lift billions out of poverty. He then proceeds to break down the counter-arguments, covering everything from “climate catastrophizing” to unreliable alternative energy sources like solar and wind to the green movement’s bewildering dismissal of nuclear and hydro-electric power. In the end, we’ll all pay (both literally and figuratively) in the mad rush to Net Zero, but the world’s poorest will pay the heaviest price of all. A recommended read that presents a reasoned counter to the current narrative.
So, how goes your 2022 reading?