Author Finn Bell’s exciting New Zealand thriller about a missing girl and a suicidal disabled man on a mission opens with a quote from Hitler about God. This powerful start is surprisingly the exact scene-setter for what can only be described as an unforgettable, cutthroat fable that examines ego and self-obsession in the face of murder. All of this in a book set in New Zealand, it’s unlikely readers will have picked up anything quite so original in this genre for some time.
Finn Bell, the protagonist and author of the book you are reading, takes us on a journey to work out if he is a ‘dead lemon,’ that is, is it worthwhile living on, or is his head just built wrong, is he a dead lemon? He’s considering this because he’s been paralyzed from the waist down in a car crash. He’s introspective and brooding, so after some therapy decides to go live in a house in the wild to get some perspective. That’s when a girl’s disappearance from twenty years ago suddenly impacts on his life. He now has to make some big decisions and stop navel-gazing. Right now.
The book gives a really interesting insight into New Zealand’s landscape and culture, especially the Maori traditions and people. Bell has written a most fascinating novel here, and will introduce many to a new world in Dead Lemons. Recommended.