On the Bookshelf...

The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man

Dave Hutchinson

When journalist Alex Dolan is hired by multibillionaire Stanislaw Clayton to write a book about the Sioux Crossing Supercollider, the world s first privately funded high-energy physics facility, this is a dream job. Clayton wants to use the collider to research the nature of gravity with an eye on using the results in space exploration and his thirteen-billion-dollar pet project has run into a series of high-profile snags and delays. There’s talk of the American government pulling its support of the collider, and Clayton needs someone to put a good spin on it. Then something goes wrong at the site. Very wrong. After the accident, Dolan finds himself changed, and the only one who can stop the disaster from destroying us all.

The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man. I thought was a sequel but it appears to be the first one, although the author has a short story about the Incredible Exploding Man. I only mention this as it may be off putting to a reader. I was excited to read this book however, it’s blurb and cover being very appealing.

The story starts with a failing scientific journalist being poached by a multi-billionaire to write a book about a supercollider he is funding. It’s a slow burner of a book that suited me. I enjoyed reading of the struggles he goes through deciding whether to take the assignment and his gradual integration into the local area. It allowed you to see what sort of character Alex really was. The residents of Sioux Crossing are a weird bunch of individuals. From the editor of the local paper to the police chief, there is a feeling of mystique around the place. Strange events add to the feeling that all is not what it seems.

This is the first book by Dave Hutchinson I’ve read and I was impressed by his writing style. His use of vocabulary keeps you reading and he lays traps in the plot that you want to solve. About two thirds of the way through the plot takes off with a bang, literally. Then you’re plunged into a must faster pace, explosive even.

The end niggles me slightly that it appears to be over so soon. I guess it allows a sequel, but in a way it leaves you cheated. In spite of these flaws I really enjoyed the book. The story is interesting, even in the getting to know you stage.

All in all, I can recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good classic science fiction read. Very suitable as well to anyone over the age of eleven, indeed the cover is very Young Adult in style.

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Review by
AJ Steel
January 5, 2024

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