Inspection - Josh Malerman

The Alphabet Boys line up daily for Inspection. It's for their own good, after all. D.A.D. and the Parenthood provide everything they need, and instruct them in what they need to know.


Two of their number have disappeared. No, not disappeared. They were spoiled rotten, and so they were sent to the Corner. J worries about the Corner, sometimes it appears in his dreams, but as long as he does well and listens to D.A.D. he has nothing to worry about. J and his brothers live in the turret in the middle of the woods.


Of course, there's something going on. The narrative switches to D.A.D. and others of the Parenthood and we are let in on the secret of the experiment. That, away from 'distractions' of the opposite sex, a generation can be raised as prodigies in science, mathematics and art. The boys are not allowed to be 'spoiled' by the presence of girls, or even knowledge of their existence. Mistakes have happened, and been ruthlessly ended, but 11 years in the experiment is a success. They are prepared for the adolescent years. Until events start spiraling out of the Parenthood's control.


Across the forest there is another school alike to J's in every way, except it is girls. There, gifted artist K worries about the problem of a structure she glimpsed long ago, something that could be the top of another turret....J and K have no idea of the existence of each other, but separately they begin to have doubts about their world, little knowing the danger their curiosity puts them in.


Josh Malerman's 'Inspection' is an addictive page-turner about an unusual experiment and its terrible consequences. I read it in one sitting, I couldn't bear not knowing what was going to happen next! It didn't disappoint. My one question was why no one expected homosexuality to rear its head at some point....that likely would have been a trip to the Corner.