REVIEW: THE SUICIDE EXHIBITION / AUTHOR: JUSTIN RICHARDS / PUBLISHER: DEL REY / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
If ever it was possible to be nostalgic for a war, the Second World War is the one to pine for. Justin Richards has perfectly captured a sepia-toned world of wax-sealed envelopes, typewritten orders and Nazi supernatural conspiracies... erm, okay, we may have missed the history lesson that featured the last one. Yes, one of the obvious influences here is Indiana Jones (albeit some weird mishmash that would mix the first and third films with the fourth), although this book’s version of him comes without the whip. Shame.
The narrative quickly moves from a pastiche of a Jones-style archeological dig to a complex spy thriller reminiscent of Operation Mincemeat (a fascinating true story, incidentally) or James Bond, if James Bond had aliens in it (which, frankly, would’ve made for better films than Moonraker or Quantum of Solace). The aliens are interesting and have the potential to become incredibly threatening in future volumes. One thing that did bother us was the ease with which the characters accepted somebody breaking out of a Bronze Age tomb and walking the Earth.
The title doesn’t feel particularly relevant to the story, as it only crops up a few times and the scene that the book was presumably named for doesn’t quite have the dramatic impact that Richards was going for. Nevertheless, this doesn’t harm the story in any tangible way and any kind of deficiency is more than made up for by a cast of well-developed characters and a good tale, well told. This particular tale does end on a cliffhanger, but that’s no bad thing. We’re looking forward to the next one.