Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Hit by Melvin Burgess

This pill will kill you. You live the ultimate high for seven days and then you die. Why would anyone take such a drug? It enhances your physical and mental strength. If your life is already a mess, you could have one last grab at glory, mark off as many items on your bucket list as possible and go out on top. Of course, you could also do something illegal, get arrested, be denied bail and die alone in a jail cell.

The setting is what I will call an economic dystopia. Conditions in England are so bad that society is on the verge of a revolution. Manchester is the epicenter of the movement to overthrow the current government and the location where the pill Death is manufactured.

Adam and (his hopefully girlfriend) Lizzie are right in the middle of it all as the first big riot by the Zealots happens. They are there when city hall is taken. It is exciting to have so much hope and change on the horizon.

Adam's life is good until...he pushes Lizzie too fast in their relationship and his brother Jess is declared dead. Suddenly, taking the pill doesn't seem like such a stupid idea. He could make lots of money to help his parents, make up with Lizzie, do something for the revolution, maybe even kill somebody who deserves it (and have sex, of course). It's amazing what someone can accomplish with an extra boost and the ultimate deadline.

This story went places I was not anticipating when I first chose this book. There is the drug kingpin and his psycho son who causes much trouble for all the main characters (theft, violence, kidnapping - you know typical gangster stuff). The oncoming revolution is always happening (mostly in the background). It is a dark and nasty world, but worth a brief visit.

For more info, check out the Indianapolis Public Library catalog and the author's site.

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