Peter Hoeg’s new novel is a high-concept thriller

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The Susan Effect. By Peter Hoeg. Translated by Martin Aitken. Harvill Secker; 352 pages; £16.99.

IN A summer of nuclear threats and bluffs, a futurist thriller about looming global catastrophe will appeal to readers who like their holidays to contain a prickle of dread. Peter Hoeg, a Danish author who is still best known for his 1992 bestseller, “Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow”, takes a circuitous route towards a Hollywood-style showdown in which social breakdown, environmental disaster and atomic weapons in rogue hands mean that “the scenarios of apocalypse are unfolding now”. What is more, the venue for this panic-attack is serene Copenhagen; the date, Christmas 2018. The world’s time, Mr Hoeg insists in his entertaining if cartoonish confection, is fast running out.

Mr Hoeg reverts to the Smilla model with another spookily gifted heroine, this time Susan Svendsen, a quantum physicist. Beyond her maverick…Continue reading

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