Beautiful thriller with some New Age overtones, set in the Far East.
“I’ve always been your wild card, play me”. This is the irresistible message that a young mid-western plumbing engineer, Andrew Mann, receives on a sealed envelope at the funeral of his wildly exotic school friend, Clayton Smith.
Opening the envelope will take him to Hong Kong, Shanghai and the desert wastes of Mongolia in search of the most fabulous map in the history of the ancient world – a map of the Invisible World.
Did it really exist or is it a quest for the invisible world of the soul?
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A predawn call startles Andy Mann from slumber. The voice of a stranger breaks the news that Clayton Smith--childhood friend, world traveller, and flamboyant artist--has committed suicide; the revelation that he made plans for his own funeral a few days later in Hong Kong complicates the mystery, as does the fact that he was finally about to make the trip of his dreams to Inner Mongolia. Andy, by comparison a stay-at-home, chronically enervated Chicagoan plagued by a succession of failed careers, has ended up tending to his father's ailing business. With only a day's notice to prepare for Clayton's funeral, Andy hesitates; his father's business needs his attention, and his friendship with Clayton had been waning for a long time. In the end, though, he does attend, spurred on by Clayton's final cryptic message to him: "I've always been your wild card. Play me."
Reminiscences of the friendship and Clayton's rise from restless world traveller to successful artist in Tokyo add heart to the narrative as Andy tries to piece together the events that led to Clayton's death. But the mystery evolves into a treasure hunt as it is revealed that Clayton had been on a quest for an exquisite piece of fabric mapping the "invisible world" that lies beyond the senses.
Invisible World sets a lively pace, creating exotic settings peopled by colourful, original characters. Myriad mysteries pepper the adventure: why did Clayton, finally enjoying artistic success, commit suicide? Why did he so desperately want to visit Inner Mongolia? What is the real value of the invaluable antique fabric? With this sure-footed mystery that doubles as an exhilarating expedition to the edges of the world, Stuart Cohen puts a new spin on the old truth that the lines between the material and the spiritual are an absolute blur.Review:
‘Top-quality debut suspense novel that crossbreeds The Third Man with The Maltese Falcon and comes up a whopping winner… masterpiece.’
‘A subtle, suspenseful experience… Here is a thinking person’s thriller, brimming with ideas and a most appropriate complexity’
San Francisco Chronicle
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