Australian actor Alan King serves up a spine-tingling rendition of this notable sci-fi debut. King’s pace is unhurried (if disquieting), leaving room for this dystopian thriller to breathe - for its unnerving suspense and jilted atmospherics to simmer. As the story’s teenage protagonists, King is brooding, aggravated, and, ultimately, convincing. This welcome entry from Michael Parker was born of the curious notion that the only difference between a school bully and a Nazi thug is their time and place: surely the former would resort to the evil of the latter given the opportunity. Accordingly, Doppelganger offers listeners two Sydneys - one bad, the other worse. An experiment in human depravity, Doppelganger follows in much the same tradition as Lord of the Flies.
"A black tunnel began to form around me. My room started to spin. Desperately I tried to cry out but I couldn't make a sound. Then, like shattering glass, I crashed straight through the tunnel and out to the other side."
Propelled out of his safe, ordinary world, Andrew is caught in the midst of a desolate city, torn apart by vicious gang wars. Here, the rules of survival are simple - you follow the pack, or you die.
Dragged into one gang's brutal takeover campaign, Andrew has no choice but to embark on an unthinkable mission, in an attempt to sever the connection between the two worlds forever. If he succeeds, he will destroy everything in his life. But if he fails, hundreds will die - in both worlds.
I wouldn't have chosen this if I'd realised it was for teens rather than an adult readership. I often choose to read YA (young adult) fiction, but this was pretty basic. Not terribly original (Lewis Carroll, anyone?) but an okay read.
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