“The Uninvited” by Liz Jensen was a strange read to begin with. However, as I finished the prologue and the first chapter, I was hooked to it and that is the idea of the book anyway.
At the start of the book, a seven-year old puts a nail gun to her grandmother’s neck and fires. Similar incidents start happening across the world. Children are killing their families. The question that people are asking is: Is this contagious? No one is aware why this is happening and as usual things are in disarray, almost to the point of being ruled by children or so it seems.
As the murders continue, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to take care of, a scandal in the Taiwan timber industry, which ultimately leads to a murder and Lock gets involved in the “murderous children” incidents. He notices a behavioural change in his stepson Freddy and that is where his mind starts taking notice of things, which others wouldn’t notice. Lock suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and this makes it even more difficult for him. This is the plot in a nutshell.
I liked how Liz Jensen makes the book seem so effortless despite the harrowing scenes of murder and unexplained violence. It is scary to see children act this way, but at some point the dystopian nightmare is global and her writing gives you the understated trauma that family members are going through in the book.
The book is definitely not an upbeat one and is perfect for one of those cold nights when you actually want to get scared. Hesketh’s character is etched to perfection. From the standpoint of a father who doesn’t want to give up on his child and also from that of a citizen who wants the so-called common good. The conflicting emotions were brought out to forth without the book getting too soppy or sentimental.
All in all Liz Jensen paints a picture of the world that could be true and that frightens me. Of children doing what they want and what they choose to can’t be controlled by anyone. Liz Jensen gives it all to you in one book – mystery, thriller, an apocalyptic nightmare and above all an intriguing story to chew on.