We are always interested in the publications of new Winnipeg authors. Of especial interest, of course are those that would fit into the mystery/thriller genre. Gerald Brandt’s debut novel, The Courier, was released in March, and covers a lot more genres than just thriller, being a cyberpunk/espionage/quasi young-adult novel about a teenage woman caught up in a larger conspiracy.
Brandt has created a dynamic world, where corporations rule a dying planet from satellites, while cities are built in classist layers down below. Power plays, corporate espionage and reliance on non-planetary resources make for a complex web of overlapping dead-drops, false flags, and other elements of the spy game.
Brandt has spread the umbrella of his creation wide by making a number of interesting choices. The perspective switches regularly between the protagonist, Kris, and the agents seeking to protect or capture her, for example. What is notable about this shift is that it does so from first person, in the case of Kris, to third person, in the case of everyone else. This gives a mix of limited perspective and omniscient narration that creates some dramatic irony and foreshadowing, while at the same time generating suspense through the narrow lens of the protagonist. It does however, make for a chink narrative.
And while I concede that I am not necessarily the target audience for the damaged female teen fighting the larger universe novel, I have to say that I am curious as to what Brandt will do next. The world he has built is worth visiting, even if the protagonist may not be. This novel has proven that Brandt is capable of writing in a wide-range of styles, and I look forward to him refining his voice and hopefully, creating stories in this world that are not limited by such a wide umbrella.