Thrilling climate change novel

A review for 'COLD', by Geoscientist Magazine

Cold is Jim Pearce’s first thriller novel. The scene is set as “near future”. Global warming has created rising temperatures worldwide, resulting in intense fires. The ash and soot from these fires blocked out the sunlight, so much so that the world converted into a frozen landscape. A few years on from this, the resulting cold is so extreme that the deep arctic conditions means that most humans have been starved or frozen to death. Resources, fuel, adequate clothing, and food are scarce. Services, particularly electricity and communications, have totally failed. Most shops have been abandoned and looted, and dead bodies are scattered where they dropped, even in roads. Humanity is reduced to small groups of survivors, scavenging wherever and whatever they can, with bands of them resorting to violence to obtain enough food and fuel to survive.

The narrator and his eight-member group (plus a dog) have somehow survived and are hiding in a house in Surrey. They have developed a hydroponics farm for food and a small biomass generator for rough alcohol and electricity and have a camouflaged entrance for security. However, a hostile roaming gang arrive so the group decide to run, but to where? Perhaps the continent across the frozen sea. Pearce’s thriller concentrates on the group’s journey and the physical problems presented at such extreme cold conditions, including a roaming polar bear, a snowstorm across the sea, plus the fracturing of group dynamics, with unexpected emotional interactions. Their journey takes many unexpected twists and nasty turns as the group, or what now remains of the group, find innovative ways to survive.

I found the style of writing a page turner, full of action and suspense that was difficult to put down, right until the end at page 246. What happens then? Maybe we have to wait for Pearce’s sequel. How the remaining group managed to keep warm and nourished keeps the story captivating, making it a riveting read, with cliffhangers all the way. Cold is a thrilling climate change novel. It could be a good read whilst travelling or on holiday. Perhaps it could be a book club selection, where discussions on survival or repercussions on climate change or social preparedness might abound.

What would you be prepared to do for your family?

A review for 'COLD', by

The near future is a world in which scientists and their AI got it wrong. Rising temperatures have caused fires that burned landmasses, and the ash from these fires block out the sun. The resulting cold is extreme, like a nuclear winter, and was a mass extinction event for human beings the world over. Electricity grids, communications and services all failed. Societies collapsed. Humanity is reduced to small groups of survivors, scraping by however they can. Resources are scarce, and bands of survivors resort to violence to obtain enough food and fuel to survive. A man and his family group have survived the cruel winter by hiding in a house in Surrey, but when a roaming gang starts to ravage the area, they are forced to run. As they flee to safety, the cohesion and tolerance that had kept them going for so long starts to fracture… It’s time once again to dip my toes into the waters of apocalyptic fiction. Regular visitors to the site will know I am obsessive when it comes to extinction-level events. I’m drawn to novels that describe our end. I can’t help myself. I find that not only does apocalyptic fiction offer an endlessly fascinating insight into the human condition, it also manages to be surprisingly educational. For example, recently I learned the term Anthropocene epoch. This is an unofficial unit of geologic time, used to describe the most recent period in Earth’s history when human activity has started to have a significant impact on the planet’s climate and ecosystems. Jim Pearce uses this theory as the jumping-off point for his new novel Cold. At its core, Cold explores some of the most personal questions when it comes to the end of the world. What would you be prepared to do for your family? How far would you be willing to go? Would you be prepared to do absolutely anything to keep them alive? Could you take another person’s life? These are the sorts of moral dilemmas that wake me in the wee, small hours of the morning. So of course I was enthralled. As ever, when I’m reading novels in my favourite sub-genre, I’m always on the lookout for the tiniest spark of hope. I’m comforted by the thought that though I’ll be long gone*, in this instance most likely a human popsicle, the best part of humanity might survive. I love the idea that if we are given a second chance then maybe, just maybe, we can do a better job than we have done the first time around. My only criticism, I’d have preferred it if the novel was a little bit longer. It’s a minor quibble, but when I’m enjoying a story I always want more. I like my characters to have the opportunity to breathe. What can I say? I’m a sucker for wanting to know what happens next. Overall I enjoyed Cold. It’s a solidly entertaining story that reminded me of the classic near-futuristic survival thriller The Day After Tomorrow with just a dash of The Grey thrown in for good measure. Cold is published by Matador and is available now. The soundtrack I’ve chosen to accompany this novel is from the 2015 film Extinction by Sergio Moure. The movie has a distinctly wintery vibe and it feels like a good fit with the novel. *A couple of medical conditions that require daily doses of drugs in tandem with no obvious survival skills means I’d be dead within minutes. If I was really lucky it would be a week at best.

Escapism at its best

A review for 'COLD', by John D,

Cold is a dystopian post-apocalyptic novel set in the near future, where in the world as we once knew it, the scientists and their AIs got it completely wrong.
Rising temperatures have caused fires that burn landmasses, and the ash from these fires blocks the sun out. The resulting Cold is extreme, like a nuclear winter, and was a mass extinction event world over for human beings. Electricity grids, communications and services all failed. Societies collapsed. Humanity is reduced to small groups of survivors, scraping by however they can. Resources are scarce, and bands of survivors resort to violence to obtain enough food and fuel to survive.
A man and a group of his family have survived the cruel winter by hiding in a house in Surrey, but when a roaming gang starts to ravage the area, they are forced to run. As they flee to safety, the cohesion and tolerance that had kept them going for so long start to fracture…
Cold is author Jim Pearce's debut novel.
What immediately caught my attention was how reminiscent this felt of the extraordinary novel The Death of Grass, a 1956 post-apocalyptic science fiction novel written by the English author Sam Youd under the pen name John Christopher. Even though written in 1956, The Death of Grass would not need much tinkering with or adaptation to be very much in line with Jim Pearce's novel Cold.
What defined The Death of Grass was the apocalypse crept up slowly with food shortages and mass hysteria, leading to starvation and an ultimate breakdown in society. Cold is very much in the vein of an old-school style post-apocalyptic, dystopian future, where climate change is the main issue for society's downfall. But both novels ultimately and inevitably lead to a world that has lost all sense of logic and reason, and brutality and survival of the fittest become the norm.
The brutal, animalistic tendencies of the male of the species always seem evident when the proverbial hits the fan. Hunting in packs, searching out the weak and vulnerable, easy targets. Sounds a bit like a Saturday afternoon during the football season in the 1970 and 80s. Sorry, I digress.
Because a large majority of the books we tend to read on the genre come from the States, where guns are the norm, we forget that there is an awful amount of weaponry available in the UK if you know where to look. So, it wasn't a major surprise to find them turning up here in Cold.
As with The Death of Grass, it doesn't need a vast cast of characters to make a classic story. Nor does there need to be too much in over-emphasised detailed character development, as it tends to slow the excitement in basically what is a science-fiction thriller. As you can imagine, the pace is relentless, with hardly enough chance to take a breather.
This is escapism at its best, with realistic and genuine characters, some likeable and some not. Seeing how the dynamics within the group play out from the outset is fascinating and immersive. Placing oneself into the mix becomes an intriguing experience and worth playing out.
The author paints vivid descriptions of the aftermath of the catastrophic events and draws pictures of a haunting, daunting arctic-style landscape. The background to the story itself doesn't stretch the imagination too far if you have watched movies such as The Day After Tomorrow, for example.
One or two quirks may have needed ironing out, but nothing major. Apart from that, Cold is a brilliant book from an author with his first attempt at writing a science fiction novel. Looking forward to his next release. Recommend.
Thank you, NetGalley and Matador, for the advanced copy of the book.

Great rollicking read

A review for 'COLD', by Dominic Collard

A great rollicking read punctuated with thought provoking themes. To the central narrative of climate destruction, Pearce seamlessly weaves in commentary about community, leadership and the nature of loyalty. A great debut novel, looking forward to more from this new voice.

"The Last of Us" brought to life

A review for 'COLD', by Kelsey Rhodes

5/5 stars! What an epic, thrilling, futuristic tale of survival. After a mass extinction event, one family fights to survive in a new world where the stakes couldn't be higher, and fellow man can't be trusted. This book read like "The Last of Us" brought to life. The author's ability to bring out that raw, animalistic tension in a post-apocalyptic world was stunning. I couldn't read this book fast enough and will be desperately waiting for the next release from this author.


A review for 'COLD', by Liz

I really enjoyed this debut novel; the world the author creates is believable and dramatic, and the circumstances that the protagonists find themselves in are challenging to say the least! The author skilfully brings characters and situations to life with good momentum and a logic that i guess reflects the author’s life in business. …an engaging and enthralling page turner!

An enjoyable book that should have been longer😉

A review for 'COLD', by Renko Dekker

Another interesting read was Cold by Jim Pearce which I received from Matador via Netgalley and it will be out on the 28th of January.

It is set in the near future after rising temperatures caused enormous fires. The ash blocked out the sun resulting in an extreme winter causing a mass extinction. A group of survivors are forced to move away from their hide out when a gang starts ravaging the area. They start this perilous journey taking them from England to France searching for shelter against the deadly cold. The journey is not without danger, even from within the group itself.

This was quite the exiting read as I like books and films dealing with this futuristic end-of-the-world drama. This book was a great one dealing with this subject and I enjoyed it. The thing I didn't enjoy was that the book should have been longer. Now, it was all told quite quickly, sometimes going through days/weeks/months in just a page. If this would be more elaborate, it would have been a great book. Furthermore, the relations between the people living in the house were set, but not that developed in depth. I would have liked to know more about the characters and the irritations between them and how these came into existence.

An enjoyable book that should have been longer😉.

Impressive first novel

A review for 'COLD', by Gregory King

A quick reader I'm not, but I found myself flipping page after page from start to finish. COLD does an incredible job of reminding us of the potential impact of client change through the eyes of fictional characters that could easily be you and me. I went away wanting a handful of additional chapters, which is new for me! Very impressive first novel.

Absorbing thriller

A review for 'COLD', by Gavin Sharpe

 An absorbing thriller that was hard to put down. The well written action sequences draw you in to the story and before long you simply need to know how the characters' relationships develop and if they overcome the hurdles between them and safety. All the while painting a thought provoking picture of how climate change could easily change the world we live in to a dark, sinister and very cold place.

Page turner

A review for 'COLD', by Mark

Jim Pearce has created a page turner. Against the backdrop of a frozen landscape, his novel hustles the reader along at a fast pace. Extraordinarily inventive at times, the plot twists through the surrey hills and even cross channel into France in most unlikely fashion. Jim’s device is the inventive questioning mind of the non-named everyday hero who carries us on his epic journey through the cold landscape. This book roars to its last page!

Informal but Immersive

A review for 'COLD', by Tristran

Pearce is a pioneer of a new Cli-Fi era. His style is informal but immersive while he takes the reader on a journey of what the future will hold if we do not take a serious hold of climate challenges. Rich characters with great texture in the scenery and drama along the heroic journey to find warmth. A great holiday read and you get a clear sense there is a strong personal reflection of Pearce's own experiences. Thoroughly recommend this book.

Eye opener - what the climate crisis could look like

A review for 'COLD', by Rob Hemsley

This is a great read - an adventure story based at a time in the future when global warming has created a global blanket of ash from forest fires across the skies - all sunlight is lost and the world converts into a frozen grey landscape . The few that are still alive have to survive and the plot is full of unexpected twists and turns as the they find innovative ways to get by - not just a story …you live the potential of our climate crisis in freezing darkness as opposed to an overheating world.