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Thriller set in Sumatra
11th May 2019
Dark Horizons by Dan Smith, thriller set in Sumatra.
The book opens as Alex, a 20-something young man from Newcastle, is lying on the tarmac, somewhere in Indonesia, having been thrown clear of the bus in which he was travelling. It has crashed and beside him a woman is dying. A short while later he wakes up in hospital with a ‘travelling companion’ beside him who has rescued his important items, such as his money and passport. She is Domino and he states early on: “I had no idea that keeping her in my life was a mistake“. An early warning that things may not end well…. The police have found drugs in the wreckage of the bus and they are looking for some white faces to take the fall for their discovery.
Alex has nursed his mother in her dying days and the trip to Indonesia was to be his way of reconnecting with himself after a long period of caring for her. His naivety makes him susceptible to Domino’s charms and her persuasive manner.
Running away from the police is the only option, and soon Alex and Domino are headed into the depths of the inhospitable terrain and eventually end up in an isolated community, where Domino lives for much of the year. There is of course an initiation ceremony and it is only after taking part in the challenge that new members are allowed to stay in the community….. The group dynamics need careful negotiation as Alex settles in and feels his way through the diverse, often interwoven and often destructive relationships.
The opening has a very pacy feel to it and then, as the story unfolds, the narrative finds its own rhythm, perhaps just a little slow at times. There is of course a nod to Lord of the Flies (Pacific Ocean) and to The Beach (Thailand). The author has an easy writing style and it is a thriller that has a good sense of atmosphere and lush location.
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