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The Uninvited

Cover of The Uninvited

The Uninvited

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A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother's neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry. Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger's Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioral patterns and an outsider's fascination with group dynamics. Nothing obvious connects Hesketh's Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behavior of his beloved stepson, Freddy. But when Hesketh's Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career, and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father. Part psychological thriller, part dystopian nightmare, The Uninvited is a powerful and viscerally unsettling portrait of apocalypse in embryo.

A seven-year-old girl puts a nail gun to her grandmother's neck and fires. An isolated incident, say the experts. The experts are wrong. Across the world, children are killing their families. Is violence contagious? As chilling murders by children grip the country, anthropologist Hesketh Lock has his own mystery to solve: a bizarre scandal in the Taiwan timber industry. Hesketh has never been good at relationships: Asperger's Syndrome has seen to that. But he does have a talent for spotting behavioral patterns and an outsider's fascination with group dynamics. Nothing obvious connects Hesketh's Asian case with the atrocities back home. Or with the increasingly odd behavior of his beloved stepson, Freddy. But when Hesketh's Taiwan contact dies shockingly and more acts of sabotage and child violence sweep the globe, he is forced to acknowledge possibilities that defy the rational principles on which he has staked his life, his career, and, most devastatingly of all, his role as a father. Part psychological thriller, part dystopian nightmare, The Uninvited is a powerful and viscerally unsettling portrait of apocalypse in embryo.

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About the Author-
  • Liz Jensen is the author of seven previous novels, including Ark Baby, shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Award, War Crimes for the Home, The Ninth Life of Louis Drax, and, most recently, The Rapture. Her work has been published in more than twenty countries. Jensen lives in London.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 1, 2012
    An epidemic outbreak of corporate sabotage and murderous children fuels this cerebral thriller from English writer Jensen (The Rapture). Hired to find an explanation for the chaos is Phipps & Wexman, the multinational legal firm that employs Hesketh Lock as a “cross-culture specialist.” In an unusual twist, Hesketh is an anthropologist whose Asperger syndrome allows him to study human behavior at a remove (and ends most of his romantic relationships almost before they begin). The saboteurs, it turns out, are all employees trying to bring down their own corporations: in Taiwan, one blows the whistle on an illegal-logging coverup; another, in Sweden, fouls a deal in coffee futures, costing his bank millions; and in Dubai, an employee of a multinational construction company alters figures and “screws up his company’s business across five continents.” Each saboteur commits suicide under baffling circumstances, but it’s not until Dubai, where Hesketh witnesses a man’s “surprisingly elegant” suicide when a small, ragged child appears, that he begins to see connections. Hesketh gradually discovers that the children constitute a tribe of sorts, with a “group consciousness” and their own language. They also have a mysterious craving for salt, as do the saboteurs. All of this has global ramifications, ratcheting up the suspense as the narrative picks up speed. Complementing the larger investigation is Hesketh’s relationship to his beloved stepson, who has attempted to kill his mother. Are the children genetic “mutants”? Have they come from the future to wreak havoc? Jensen never says, and her denouement is eerie and foreboding, leaving unanswered as many questions as it addresses. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Associates.

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    Bloomsbury Publishing
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