Dark Rain (Hardback)

Author: Conor Corderoy
Macmillan New Writing
RRP: 12.99
ISBN 0 230 00010 X
Available 07 April 2006

Following an ecological disaster the rains came to London. Now, thirty-five years later, the landscape has changed almost beyond recognition. The rest of the planet is fairing no better, in the southern regions the rains have stopped and millions of starving people are waiting at the gates of Europe. For a lucky few dry rooms still exist and for the rich the domes have been created, but for the mass of humanity life is short and miserable. What wealth does exist is being ploughed into an impenetrable nuclear barrier in an effort to halt the landing of an alien force that is on route to earth. Against this backdrop Inspector O'Neil is sent to investigate an impossible act, the murder of a Dry, Professor Keyhoe, in one of the impenetrable domes...

Dark Rain is the debut novel by Conor Corderoy, apart from its sci-fi backdrop the novel has more in common with a Raymond Chandler murder mystery. When O'Neil won't tow the party line on the professor's murder he is dismissed. In the new world order this is tantamount to a death sentence. His rescue comes in the form of the Professor;s wife who likewise does not believe the given reason for her husband's murder and is willing to throw her considerable wealth behind O'Neil's investigation.

While the publisher's blurb tries to align the story with the likes of Blade Runner, in truth, it has more in common with Soylent Green, itself an adaptation of Harry Harrison's Make Room! Make Room! A rebellious cop acting outside the system investigates the murder of a wealthy man who harbours a secret - a secret that the inner sanctum of society will kill to keep. Through the investigation of this one single act, by the seemingly only honest cop left, a chain of event leads to a discovery that could change mankind's fate. The similarities don't end there the character of O'Neil is very much in the mould of Charlton Heston's portrayal of Robert Thorn, gruff and world weary he moves forward in his investigation allowing nothing to deviate him from his chosen course.

That said the book is actually quite good, though it's not for the faint hearted as Corderoy describes the grim reality of living in a world under water. The ever present rain not only brings death but creates an omnipresent oppressive presence which makes the novel a very dark read. If anything the novels central theme is the chance of hope in hopeless circumstances.

The book is published under the Macmillan New Writing banner, which initially came under a lot of attack when the idea was first mooted as it sounded too much like vanity publishing. Nice to see then that they have set the benchmark for new writers very high; I look forward to reading more from this series and especially more from Conor Corderoy.

Charles Packer

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