Moral dilemmas, deception and murder - a gripping novel with a futuristic slant.
Sci-fi leanings, thriller-type storyline... sounded like just the sort of thing I'd enjoy, and I'm pleased to report that I did!
Isobel is a Heaven Architect - someone who ariticially creates 'heavens' for dying people, based on their memories. Her client, Jarek, is handsome, interesting and charming - but there are two major problems; one, he's married, and two, he's dying of a brain tumour.
Isobel makes a lot of bad choices - and, when Jarek's wife is murdered, these backfire on her in splendid style. Is Jarek who she thinks he is? Or has she been guilty of deceiving herself as much as everyone else?
This was a complete tsunami of a novel - relentless, speedy, and all-encompassing. I was engrossed from start to finish, and even better, it hooked me on a number of different levels. Yes, I was intrigued by this concept of creating artificial heavens, and the moral dilemmas such actions posed. But I was equally fascinated by Isobel and her behaviour throughout. She wasn't terribly likeable, she did fairly dreadful things without thought or consideration to those around her - yet I still cared about her; and that's a tricky thing for an author to pull off.
I loved the backdrop of the cold war too (a future one, not the historical one). It added tension and bleakness, and gave the book a real sense of depth. You can tell the author knows her stuff when it comes to science too, which made all the 'sci-fi' bits feel authentic. In fact, there wasn't much I didn't enjoy about this novel - it was an absolute page-turner.