Thank you to Hugh Howey for sending me a copy in advance in exchange for an honest review
When the chance arose to sneak a look at this novel I grabbed that chance and didn't let go, I may have mentioned several times over my blogging life that I love the work of Mr Howey.
His knack for creating a hostile but still liveable landscape is uncanny, the silos of Wool and the blazing desert in Sand are worlds that have shook my kindle to it's digital core, they are books that I recommend over and over again, will The Shell Collector be a new addition to this list?
Set in our near future, The Shell Collector is told from the point of view of a young journalist, Maya Walsh, her future sees the sea levels rising and shells become rare and collectable, something to covet, magazines are dedicated to them and collectors are stars.
Maya is investigating the Wilde's, a family who have made billions drilling for oil. She feels they are partly to blame along with the greedy politicians for the re-writing of the coastlines, the decimation of the beaches and the flooding that has wiped away communities.
She is writing an expose on each generation of the male Wilde's but her editor is called by the youngest and now reclusive Wilde - Ness for a meeting with Maya but before she can do that, to find out what he has to say for himself, the F.B.I. get involved.
They have discovered that shells that have been linked back to Ness Wilde are possibly fake, they want Maya to go in with a wire to find out what the billionaire collector has to say for himself. What Maya expects and what Maya gets are two different things.
Expecting a broken, overweight drunk she is a little shocked to find a healthy handsome tanned man who knows exactly the power he has over women, something that Maya is not going to let affect her hunt for the truth.
The reason for requesting a meeting with Maya is that Ness wants her to read his grandfather's journal and explore the thoughts of a man who wanted nothing to do with his families business, Ness wants to make her aware that he is not the monster she is going to make him out to be.
She shows him the shells the F.B.I. have given her and he changes from a suave to shifty, he denies that they are fakes, destroys them to try and prove their authenticity, he pleads with her to believe him but Maya has had enough of him for one day and reports back to the Bureau who are pleased with her findings but pissed about the loss of the shells.
She doesn't expect to hear from Ness again so she is taken aback when he phones her that same evening asking her to spend a week with him, to show her where these shells came from, to answer all the questions she has about his fake collection and to give her the story of a lifetime.
She takes him up on his offer and together they explore Ness's world, Maya sees and experiences things she has could never have imagined, from the depth of the oceans to 40,000 feet in the air her relationship with Ness goes from frosty to friendly as they spend more time together and he shows her his world.
So much time together also brings a problem to the table, those pesky things called feelings, Maya and Ness spark off one another, will they be able to hold back their feelings for one another? Well No they don't!!
This does complicate things especially when Maya finally discovers what Ness has been doing, will she believe that what he is doing is for the greater good or will she just feel betrayed?
The Shell Collector is a magnificent read, truly like nothing I have read before and nothing like it's predecessors. Even though it has a future setting it is set in a way where it could literally be next week, the characters in it are well written and thought out and Hugh has shown again that he is very adept at writing from a stroppy sorry strong(!) females point of view.
The Shell Collector has it all, intrigue, romance, a hint of dystopia and generally it just seems to have such a gorgeous feel to it, the setting of Ness's house is so beautifully described that you will find yourself wanting to visit it.
I am always worried when one of my favourite authors releases a new novel just in case it disappoints me but this has been a joy to read. Go forth and buy people!!
Awarded 5 out of 5
Released 14th December 2014