Sunday, May 7, 2023

The Ferryman

The Ferryman is a standalone dystopian SF/mystery/thriller by Justin Cronin. Released 2nd May 2023 by Penguin Random House on their Ballantine imprint, it's 560 pages and is available in hardcover, large print paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. 

This is a sprawling complex book full of philosophical rumination and moral questions about existence and purpose. It's slow moving (ponderous) in places, and there are twists which are so heavily foreshadowed as to be fairly obvious. Being dropped into the middle of what's going on, along with the author's parsimonious information-sharing, makes for uncomfortable and disoriented reading. It seems to be a normal response, given the extant reviews, and it was certainly my experience as well. 

Around the 45-50% mark, the book becomes a lot clearer and a more linear storytelling style. Although it's not at all derivative, it will likely appeal to fans of Blake Crouch and J.A. Konrath. For readers who insist on clear-cut unambiguous denouement and resolution, this ending will not necessarily satisfy. On a second re-read of the last 100 pages, I'm still not entirely sure I could describe how it ended and not get a rap across the knuckles with a ruler. 

Four stars. Wonderful author, well written but vaguely discursive ending. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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