by Brian Evenson
Cover Artist: Getty Images
Review by Harriet Klausner
Tor Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765330963
Date: 10 April 2012 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Before the Kollaps, Detective Josef Horkai was the best at resolving the seemingly worst scenarios with minimal collateral damage. When all else failed, he was like the great relief pitcher winning the game with striking out the opponents and hitting a walk off homerun. However that was pre-Kollaps Horkai.
In post Kollaps, Horkai awakens to white noise with amnesia except for recalling the end of the world Kollaps. He still has an inner sense that he is the best though at what remains vague and acknowledges civilization has radically changed. Horkai is aware that his life is slipping away while people linger nearby monitoring him in what appears to be a total frozen state. His legs no longer work and his hands seem on the verge of failure. He has no teeth or hair and has no idea how long he has been kept alive, why they keep him alive, or what is killing him.
A stranger claiming to be his friend thaws Horkai. This person insists Horkai's skill as an investigator is desperately needed. Horkai's assignment is to retrieve a stolen cylinder before something as catastrophic as the Kollaps occurs; he realizes how vague this information is. With his head pounding, his limbs useless, and his focus off kilter and unable to delineate between memories and dreams, Horkai has little time if he wants to remain alive; he must finish the mission quickly so those he distrusts can return him to a frozen state.
With a dark Kafka like feel to the powerful 200 proof grim storyline, Immobility is a great thriller that grips the audience from the opening sequence when Horkai begins to slowly awaken to his environment. The background, whether it is the hospital room or outside slowly comes to life as a horrific dying world that will never see the sun shine again.
The harsh landscape sets the tone, but this is Horkai's tale. He struggles in this new world order where he lacks experiences as a paraplegic, which means his few memories of his days as a hero offer him little solace as he had functioning arms and legs then. His mission also disturbs him as he has mental issues with realism and once again his lack of experience in this environment. Even more troubling to Horkai is his gut instinct that his self-proclaimed friend and his caretakers are the enemy, keeping him on ice until they need him. Even the task is nebulous except for retrieving the cylinder.
This is a superb distressing noir thriller as the eclipse blocking the sun never moves on. With a super climax that, as a Monday morning quarterback, seems obvious but not while reading, fans will be spellbound by the darkness as Brian Evenson opens a curtain on a forbidding world. A hellhole where the beleaguered protagonist (and the audience) wonders if he suffers from an unending nightmare limiting his world or is this really happening to him; either way this is real in the mind of Horkai.
Much better cover than the oginiral. I mistook the original cover as a young adult novel and almost didn't purchase it. So was pretty pleasantly surprised by what was inside. It was a case of not judging a book by its cover. So this one is a bit more accurate reflecting what to expect. Look forward to seeing what's done for books 2 and 3.