So…nuclear war. Been in the news a lot these days. How about that, eh?
I never knew how good I had it as a kid in the (mostly) harmonious 90s. The Iron Curtain fell, the Cold War was over, 9/11 had not yet happened and the only existential threat to America was our collectively stupid reaction to the President’s affair with an intern.
Wish somebody told me those would be the good ol days for the States.
Anyway, I came upon this book because I was hip to the idea given the moment: a murder mystery being solved in a remote Swiss hotel where a few stragglers are bunkered down after a nuclear holocaust.
Well…there’s some of that. There is a mystery. The protagonist attempts to solve it. But that’s maybe like 20% of the book. Had you told me that going in, I probably wouldn’t have read it.
But I stayed with it because Hanna Jameson is a talented writer. She turns up the intensity well as the days pass from the initial bombings and the survivors huddle, trying to figure out this new world, navigating it perilously, unsure of what happens next. Jameson keeps the reader engaged with the characters and pacing while also keeping said reader off guard. You never know what’s going to happen next and it makes for a most entertaining reading experience.
Unfortunately, the mystery angle is a dud, both for the reasons I stated above and for the resolution (or lack thereof, you’ll have to read it to find out). But it’s still an interesting meditation on what happens when the world shifts. And while I wasn’t a fan of how the mystery played out, the ending really hit home.