Paperback: 336 pages
2 March, 2017
Sometimes it is difficult to quantify just how good a book is in a few simple words. Or at least, that's the problem with Shannon Kirk's The Method. A truly magical, utterly original, transfixing, absorbing and unputdownable work of pure storytelling gold? Well, all this comes close but still doesn't do the book justice.
What is uncanny, however, are two stand out elements. One, it is really short at 245 pages of medium sized font. Therefore, the pages flash past carried on the fresh breeze of originality, intrigue and bleak, dark humour.
Secondly the protagonist is not easy to like. A complex control freak, this is a person who were we to meet them, the word "smug" would spring to mind as fast as "dickhead" would follow it. Yet for all this - and please note their name is not mentioned here for fear of giving even the slightest spoiler - we find ourselves, through some authorial osmosis, firmly in their corner.
Added to this is the descriptive - at times almost too descriptive - prose that are energised to the point where the sinister crackles of anticipation are palpably apparent. Who the captive is and why they find themselves in the situation they do is not enough for Kirk to tantalise her readers with. Therefore, problem after seemingly insurmountable problem is devised, along with horror upon horror, so that by its climax The Method leaves us exhausted to the point where sweat and bone and sinew physically ache.
Not so much an excellent read but more of terrifyingly superb experience, The Method by Shannon Kirk may be the most significant pointer towards the future of crime fiction to have arrived in a very long time.