Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
How much of the world is actually real, how much of it is just a by-product of our own consumption and greed? The problem lays with our own perception of what is good for ourselves rather than what is beneficial for the planet. Over commercialised, de-sensitised to the true scale of the issues that are laid out in stark reality before us, Earth is choking, suffocating and throwing up so much bile and yet people are more concerned about profit, the year on year increase of the bottom line and making a fortune out of the world’s misery; it is something to really get angry about, however those that do are still in the minority.
We have to face up to reality and the best way to help the cause is by immersing yourself into the world of fiction, notably Ian Cawley’s fascinating and in many cases enlightening novel Gnosis.
A book that deals with a future that concerns itself with greed and the pillaging of the Earth’s natural resources is nothing new in the literary world but to place it in the spectrum of a murder mystery, a neo noir with the undercurrent of mass extinction thrown in, now that is a different ball game and one that Mr. Cawley undoubtedly takes great delight in exploring and throwing into the mix curveballs from his other great passion in life, that of a certain football team from Manchester. Whilst this in itself does not temper the novel in any way, it adds an element of cool to speculate the depths of knowledge it takes to combine an interesting, an exciting read with one in which the reader is plied with the task of understanding the author; the in jokes, the reason to get some words out the head onto the page, all there is to love about a good book.
Mr. Cawley sets down the characters in very much the same way that you would expect from a parent who is invested heavily in his children’s or charges upbringing, they are rounded, you care about them to the point of asking about them outside of the hours you are reading about them and whilst some do not last as long as you would like, like any good story immersed in the world of Neo Noir, the story is not hindered by their dramatic entrances or exits.
It may have been a labour of love for Mr. Cawley but it not a laboured read, in the same vein that James Paterson’s novels, Ian Rankin’s or Robert Harris’s books captivate you from the initial opening chapter, so too does Mr. Cawley set out and succeed in hypnotising the reader to many layers that await their discovery.
Gnosis is a shining example of a different type of fiction, one that really has not yet been absorbed into the culture.
Ian D. Hall