Recently I was sent an advanced manuscript for DROWNING CITY, the debut novel from an Auckland University student, Ben Atkins. The book has an intriguing back-cover blurb - it's a noir novel set over one night in the prohibition era:
In a city of elusive agendas, it's hard to find the truth. It's even harder to find what's right. A bootlegger's dream is rocked by an attempt to destroy his lucrative business. What begins as a curious evening snowballs into a night-time odyssey as Fontana searches for answers he never thought he'd have to find. The city is saturated with criminal and political extremism - is there anyone he can trust?
Setting and style are just as much characters in this evocative, Depression-era novel by an astonishingly talented young author.As always with a new author, I opened the book curious as to what I'd find. Hopefully something good. I didn't. I found something great. Atkins has an astonishingly evocative and distinctive authorial voice. I really, really enjoyed this book, much more than I thought I might. Keep an eye on him. And grab a copy.