Ned Beauman - Glow (4 stars)

Ned Beauman - Glow

An addictive modern conspiracy thriller about a new mind-altering substance

Ned Beauman's third novel begins with a rave in a launderette where Raf is introduced to a new drug called Glow. Everyone wants Glow, including Cherish, a beautiful Burmese woman who Raf all too briefly meets. The next day Raf discovers that his best friend Theo is missing and strange men have appeared in the neighbourhood. As he investigates Theo’s disappearance, and attempts to locate Cherish, he unwittingly plunges himself into the very heart of a global conspiracy.

Glow is a thoroughly enjoyable, playful read. There are silent white vans stalking South London streets, suspicious foxes, money laundering, sex and drugs. The narrative hooks immediately, as does the language, which is often delightfully inventive. There are also some surprisingly tender scenes that add depth and humour.

If there’s a flaw in Glow, however, it’s in its self-awareness. At times, Beauman’s evident desire to showcase his literary ambitions means that the plot feels a little stretched and sentences can become too dense to enjoy. Despite this, Beauman has created a truly modern thriller that is as addictive as it is inventive.

Published on Thu 8 May by Sceptre.

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