GREEN VALLEY by Louis Greenberg.
Titan Books. p/b. £7.99.
Reviewed by Elloise Hopkins.
Two dead bodies from Green Valley have been found outside its boundary. Two dead children, with no one claiming to know anything about them. Lucie’s niece is inside that closed community. Her only remaining family, her only link to that past, out of reach behind locked walls and a technological barrier. Qualifying for a visit requires ‘exceptional circumstances’ and Lucie is pretty sure this is it. She has to know they are safe, and as a consultant to the police she has to find out what happened to those children.
Outsiders are not frequently welcomed to Green Valley, that mysterious, independent haven, and Lucie is filed with trepidation as the necessary, invasive installation of The I is completed. What began as an enjoyable and immersive enhancement to reality has developed beyond her expectations to a device of absolute control and regulation of human existence. Lucie will discover that those people she knew before the Turn are no longer those people she knew, and Green Valley is not exactly the haven it promised.
The story follows Lucie’s search for her niece as she discovers what life is really like behind the walls and what sacrifices and concessions were made by those who stayed there to retain their ‘perfect’ existence. An expertly handled point of view change later in the book does not interrupt the narrative as the investigation broadens and the implications of what The I really does become clearer.
Green Valley paints an eerie representation of an independent society that embraced technology and voted to always remain behind its walls and live in its semi-real environment. The truth behind the virtual existence of its residents is revealed slowly to maximum impact and the menace of Green Valley is portrayed convincingly, as is its lingering taint. A tense and gripping tale.