Ian Pattinson's Reviews > Only Forward

Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith
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In an unspecified future, Britain has become The City, a coast to coast sprawl of enclaves known as Neighbourhoods. Generally, Neighbourhoods are insular places, keeping to themselves so they can nurture their own eccentricities.

Stark is one of the rare individuals who can fit in in any enclave, one of the many skills he utilises in his role as a troubleshooter for hire. Contracted to track down an executive from Action Centre- a neighbourhood dedicated to Getting Things Done- and starts a trip through the strangeness of the city.

A reticent narrator, as much as an unreliable one, Stark spends the first half of the story alluding to back story and refusing to divulge details unless they become relevant. Unsurprisingly, they become increasingly relevant as the story goes on.

Stark finds the missing Actioneer, but decides there's more going on than he's been told. He just needs to work out what. The story goes off in a completely different direction, as the secrets of what makes Stark so good at his job are revealed. It feels like an odd tangent at first, as events become even more surreal, but, bit by bit, provides all the answers Stark refused to give earlier in the book.

The change of tack halfway through was jarring, but it does- in the very last pages, admittedly- wrap the tale up neatly and coherently.
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Reading Progress

October 6, 2015 – Started Reading
October 6, 2015 – Shelved
October 18, 2015 – Finished Reading

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