BEFORE By Paul Kane, Grey Matter Press, e/b £3.90, p/b £17.75 www.paulkanesbefore.com
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
Paul Kane is a celebrated author with a varied back catalogue of work, and this latest novel is a thing of beauty indeed. He crafts an exceptionally detailed world, filled with complex characters, and weaves a wicked narrative that twists and turns leading the reader through an emotional rollercoaster with the characters.
Before opens in 1970s Germany, where a psychiatric patient seems close to making a breakthrough until tragedy strikes. It then moves to Vietnam where a group of US soldiers are on a special ops mission to rescue some of their captured compatriots under the command of the mysterious Captain Finn, but all is not as it seems.
In the present day, Alex Webber finds himself seeing things that aren’t there, and worries that he is having a nervous breakdown. Elsewhere, Finn and his sadistic companion Lucas search for someone, leaving a swathe of destruction behind them.
Kane takes the classic struggle of good vs evil, and makes it something more with an almost M Night Shyamalan-esque twist at the end. His writing leaps off the page, enveloping the reader keeping tight hold of your attention. This is the kind of book that you can easily imagine being made into a Netflix original series or similar – he has written it with many fantastic cliff-hangers that leave the reader not wanting to put the book down. If you’ve not encountered Paul Kane before, get this book, and remember his name – you’ll be seeing it at the front of a film or tv adaptation soon enough, I feel.