Author: Paul E. Hardisty
Publisher: Orenda Books
Publication Date: 28th February 2016
Source: Review Copy
Claymore Straker is a fugitive with a price on his head. Wanted by the CIA for acts of terrorism he did not commit, his best friend has just been murdered and Rania, the woman he loves, has disappeared. Betrayed by those closest to him, he must flee the sanctuary of his safe house in Cornwall and track her down. As his pursuers close in, Clay follows Rania to Istanbul and then to Cyprus, where he is drawn into a violent struggle between the Russian mafia, Greek Cypriot extremists, and Turkish developers cashing in on the tourism boom. As the island of love descends into chaos, and the horrific truth is unveiled, Clay must call on every ounce of skill and endurance to save Rania and put an end to the unimaginable destruction being wrought in the name of profit. Gripping, exhilarating and, above all, frighteningly realistic, The Evolution of Fear is a startling, eye-opening read that demands the question: How much is truth, and how much is fiction?
There are some bloggers (they should know who they are) whose opinions I completely trust. Basically, if they love a book then nine times out of ten I will too. One of those books that said bloggers raved about was Paul Hardisty's The Abrupt Physics of Dying which, whilst I am yet to read it, had reviews that were a good indication that I would enjoy The Evolution of Fear. Funnily enough, when I read the blurb for Paul's first book it wasn't something I was sure would interest me, it was only when those reviews started coming in that I immediately added it to my TBR, and after finishing reading this book I've already moved it up the list of books to read in the immediate future.
The Evolution of Fear is definitely a thriller, it is as thrilling as a thriller should be but it's also completely believable throughout. The story moves along blisteringly, and as a Hollywood blockbuster it certainly wouldn't disappoint but compared to other books in this genre I found the characters to be much better developed. Claymore Straker is just a brilliant character and one who is so easy to read about, and to picture as a real person. There's so much depth to the characters and to the plot itself that at times it is more like one of those non-fiction stories as opposed to a work of fiction. And of course, that's because of Paul's background, giving him the ability to write a tale that, whilst entertaining is also quite true to life in places. The storyline itself is gripping from start to finish, gripping in a way that keeps you there until the very last page. I also enjoyed that in places it's not a predictable read, you might think you know what's happening or you might guess some stuff, but never the whole story. I think that's yet another reason why I loved this book so much.
I often see comments, sometimes on works of non-fiction that say reading a particular book is a 'rewarding' experience. I like to think most of the books I read are rewarding in some way, whether they are especially remarkable, memorable or enjoyable but I think I got a sense of just what people mean when they say reading a book is rewarding. The Evolution of Fear certainly goes far beyond just being another thriller, and it's one of those books that will almost definitely make you want to read further about the subjects tackled within, and also the places they take place. I don't even think it should be classed as just a thriller, it's numerous genres within one and this is something I am really enjoying about the books that Orenda are publishing. Each book is special in its own way, and despite most of them having many differences between them, I like how I 'know' that I'm holding an Orenda book in my hands, and how I know that picking up an Orenda book is going to be one of my favourite reading experiences of the year. The Evolution of Fear will without a doubt be amongst my top reads of the year. (And there's a certain author releasing their debut novel with Orenda very soon that I think could also join that list)!
What initially drew me to The Evolution of Fear, previous praise and its publisher aside was that some of it (I know now that a lot of it) is set in Cyprus, which is my favourite place in the whole world. I haven't come across much fiction set on the island and whilst I obviously love it as a holiday destination (roll on July!), it was its turbulent and fascinating history that led me to researching the country endlessly after I first visited it and even to this day I am still learning new things about it. Paul clearly knows what he is talking about and uses that to write a completely realistic and believable story. The story is breathtaking in places, and it's not one that most readers will forget in a hurry. I felt every moment reading this, and some descriptive and vividly immersive writing meant that it was almost like I was there alongside the characters. It's a little unnerving at times and this book was especially more vivid in my mind than most I have read recently.
Just to go off topic and perhaps have a little bit of a rant but often some people make comments about how bloggers who only post positive reviews somehow aren't as trustworthy as those who also post negative reviews. This year I haven't posted the quantity of reviews I normally do, but I have made the decision to be a lot more selective about the books I choose to read and what people don't see is the books that I have started and abandoned, probably a lot more than what I've actually read. If a book doesn't grip me right away, it's deleted or sent to the charity shop. I'm not going to waste time reading it, and I'm not going to go to the effort of reviewing it, being a blogger is time consuming enough. I see my blog as a place for people to read about books that I personally have loved. Books that I want other people to read and I hope that people can read one of my reviews, and hopefully then go on to read that book themselves. That to me is why I am a blogger and why I continue to keep on doing it. What this rant essentially means is that I only finish books I'm enjoying, and I only review (mostly) positively because of books like this. Reading time is precious and I think we all need to spend it reading books that we love, and that we can read again. It's such a waste to use that time on books that we aren't enjoying. So, if you've read that rant then please go ahead and pick up The Evolution of Fear, you will not regret it! Now, I'm off to try and get my hands on Paul's first book and move it right to the top of the TBR!