I’m thrilled to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for the all too believable Off Target by Eve Smith. Thank you to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this outstanding book.
About the book:
What if your future was just one modification away?
Critically acclaimed bestseller Eve Smith returns with a terrifying, cautionary glimpse of what the future may hold, with a startlingly thought-provoking blockbuster of a thriller.
In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect – altering genes that may cause illness, and more…
Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand makes her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable. She believes her secret is safe. For now.
But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…
A disturbingly relevant literary thriller with the speculative power of Station Eleven and Never Let Me Go, and all the tension of a nail-biting medical thriller.
About the author:
Eve Smith’s debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award.
Eve writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. Eve’s flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize.
In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.
Eve recently contributed a piece of flash fiction, Belting Up, to an anthology of crime shorts called Noir From the Bar. The collection of stories has been launched to raise money for the NHS.
Eve’s previous job as COO of an environmental charity took her to research projects across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places.
A Modern Languages graduate from Oxford, she returned to Oxfordshire fifteen years ago to set up home with her husband.
When she’s not writing, she’s chasing across fields after her dog, attempting to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.
Follow Eve: @evecsmith on Twitter & http://www.evesmithauthor.com
Instagram: evesmithauthor Facebook: EveSmithAuthor
I’m always excited whenever Orenda Books publish a new book but wow, what a thrilling and thought provoking novel Off Target by Eve Smith is! This clever piece of speculative fiction, just like the author’s debut novel Waiting Rooms, makes for an uncomfortable read at times but is a complex and all too possible tale that chilled me to my core.
This time the author delves into the world of fertility and genetic engineering in a near future where people are willing to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are ‘perfect’, something that, as the parent of a child with a disability, can’t help but make me recoil in horror.
A moral dilemma for sure, but also one that, on a personal level, makes me think about the what ifs and maybes of my own situation. Can it ever be right to fundamentally change who a person is? To eradicate those things that make someone ’less than’ in many people’s eyes, whether that be to eliminate an illness or disability or simply to change the eye colour or so called ’flaws’ of a child’s appearance?
As with most things, there are no black or white answers, only the many shades of grey that make this emotive subject such a difficult one to navigate. If I could go back thirty years and have the choice, would I take away my daughter’s disability and make her so called ’perfect’? Once upon a time my answer could quite possibly have been different, but now? No, I wouldn’t. I love and accept my daughter for who she is and, as difficult as life can be at times, without her disability she would be a different person. She wouldn’t be the strong, beautiful woman that I love, she would be someone else. And I love her, all of her… and I wouldn’t change a single thing.
But I can also see the argument for why people would be willing to go down that route, especially when it comes to certain life limiting and/or terminal illnesses or diseases that cause such immeasurable and heartbreaking suffering.
So, as I said, no easy answers just many, many differing shades of grey.
But now back to the story…
Told in two parts, first we follow Susan as she makes a difficult decision that will forever change the course of not only her life, but the lives of her husband and soon to be daughter. With Susan weighed down by her terrible secret, we then move forward to a number of years later as children around the world start to experience a host of distressing symptoms, leading to some of them even taking their own lives.
All of the children have only one thing in common: they were all genetically modified in some way and are now showing horrifying signs of being ’off target’.
With Susan’s secret about to be exposed and fears for her daughter growing, what follows is a fast paced and chilling thriller that will set your heart pounding and your pulse racing. Off Target is speculative fiction at its very best and Eve Smith’s writing is powerful as it bring to life a nightmare scenario that is almost too awful to contemplate.
I don’t want to say too much more for fear of spoiling the plot, so all I will say is that this book drew me in from the very first page and didn’t let go until the final, thrilling page had been turned. Eve Smith has written a chilling, thought provoking and all too plausible story that I found particularly emotive and is one that I know will stay with me for a long time to come.
A shocking but entirely believable read, Off Target is a stunning and brilliantly written novel that easily cements Eve Smith’s place as an author at the top of her game.
Off Target by Eve Smith is available to buy now:
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