September 3rd, 2021 by Jane Turner
This review of 28 Days by Sue Parritt comes courtesy of a Blog Tour organised by Rachel’s Random Resources. 28 Days, the first in the Reluctant Doorkeeper series, was published on 16 May 2021 by Next Chapter. I received a free copy of the ebook.
Melbourne, February 2100. Emma Cartwright has 28 days left to find work, otherwise she must report to the Productive Citizens Bureau and accept any vacancy, regardless of location, pay or conditions.
Her situation becomes even more grave when the Employment Positions Portal is disabled and the government refuses to extend her unemployment period. At 70, Emma could opt for voluntary euthanasia, but she has her student son Jack to support.
After a chance meeting with the eccentric Cal Ritchie, founder of the clandestine group Citizens’ Voice and supporter of those fleeing repressive laws to live in bush camps, Emma is determined to escape her life of compliance.
When her son Jack is suddenly arrested, Emma finds herself running out of time and options, and has to take drastic measures. But can she save her son?
28 Days hooked me from the start. I love to be taken places when I read, and 28 Days took me to a future Australia – one with a tyrannical and overbearing government, a burned and boiling overpopulated country, neighbourhood spies, and little hope or happiness.
The story follows Emma Cartwright, a 70-year-old journalist, unemployed in a country where mandated retirement age is 80 and everyone under that age is required to work. The Government Allocated Unemployment Period (GAUP) lasts for one year. If Emma hasn’t found another job in that time, she must accept ANY position on offer, in any location, which could force her away from her son and into a highly dangerous occupation. We follow Emma through the final eventful month of her GAUP, which includes job-hunting, a bit of eye-opening, a few clandestine activities and a smattering of revolution.
Ms Parritt has built a highly plausible future Australia. Unfortunately, it was very easy for me to see and understand how it comes about – how the world we know changes thanks to bad governments, bad policies, global strife, climate events, and everything else that can affect the minutiae of our lives without us realising it.
28 Days is written in a somewhat formal style with somewhat stilted language – I did find it overly stilted at times. It didn’t affect my enjoyment, just seriously slowed my reading speed. Think Pride & Prejudice vs the latest Jack Reacher – both great stories, but you have to read Austen a little slower to get full effect, while Reacher can be whizzed through. 28 Days definitely has to be taken a little slower to get the most out of the story.
But, without giving anything away, the story’s pretty damn good!
The characterisations were great, the structure completely sensible, and the story highly plausible. I was truly engaged, and was up till 2am at one point – reading til I hit a spot where I felt I could put it down.
My only gripe, the ending. So many questions! I guess I’ll have to get book two now. 😊
Originally from England, and now living on the Mornington Peninsula, south-east of Melbourne, Sue worked in university libraries until taking early retirement in 2008 to concentrate on writing novels. Creative writing has been a passion since her teenage years, with short stories, poetry and articles published in magazines and anthologies in Australia, the US and the UK. To date, Sue has written nine novels.
Passionate about social justice, Sue’s goal as a fiction writer is to continue creating intrepid characters prepared to risk their lives to effect positive change in a troubled world. She intends to write for as long as possible, believing the extensive life experiences of older writers can be employed to engage readers of all ages.
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