14 July 2020

Review: Subterranean by B. Michael Radburn

Subterranean by B. Michael Radburn cover
* Copy courtesy of Atlas Productions *

Aussie author and Carpe Librum favourite B. Michael Radburn is back with Subterranean; a story about a woman on the run after leaving an abusive relationship and a homeless Army veteran living in the abandoned train tunnels beneath Sydney's streets. Cassie is being pursued by twins hired by her husband who put me immediately in mind of the twin brothers Leonel and Marco Salamanca from Breaking Bad.

Daniel is trying to recover from the physical and emotional trauma experienced in Afghanistan and when these two flawed characters meet, the reader can't resist hoping they will find a way to help each other.

Subterranean is a novella and a quick read, however the presentation in smaller format paperback, large font and with the inclusion of several illustrations gave me the immediate impression this was a YA novel. This stand alone novella can easily be read by a YA audience, but it's a confusing presentation of an adult novella in my opinion. The shadowy cover design captures the feel of the story perfectly and I could easily have done without the illustrations and large print.

As with his Taylor Bridges series, Radburn does an excellent job of bringing Australian characters to life and describing the Australian landscape. In Subterranean he convincingly captures Sydney's urban and underground environment and the pips of the ABC Radio News broadcasts were a very nice touch.

Highlighting the plight of our own homeless veterans and the lack of services from the Department of Veterans' Affairs in this novella was an added bonus and as a fellow veteran, I hope this helps shine a light on this important and ongoing issue.

However, Subterranean's ending was the real highlight for me. It was an unexpected climax I didn't realise we were working towards and which provided a very satisfying end to the story. A great read!

Carpe Librum!

My Rating:
★ ★

P.S. Check out my reviews of the following books by B. Michael Radburn:
- The Crossing
- Blackwater Moon
- The Falls

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