The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith
The Miracle Inspector is Helen Smith’s fifth novel, published by Tyger Books.
The Miracle Inspector is based on a young married couple, Angela and Lucas, in a not too distant dystopian future. The city of London is on lockdown, women are confined to their homes and are only allowed to travel with government issued passes, men are the only workers and children no longer attend school. Their future is a future controlled by fear. Fear of being accused a paedophile has stopped parents playing with their children and fear of arrest for ‘terrorism’ keeps mouths shut and opinions contained. The book hints at a past when the public was given control of their situation, which leads to even more troubles as strange laws and regulations came from people too uninformed to successfully rule. Instead, there is a department and an inspector for everything. Lucas is the miracle inspector, sent to investigate all officially reported ‘miracles.’ Although his job gives him more control and respect than most average people, he’s still just as scared of the system and the way people disappear every day.
When he’s given the case of a mother who believes her child is a miracle, it’s nothing new for Lucas. He’s experienced doting parents insisting that their piano playing offspring are special, numerous times before. This meeting hits Lucas more than most though and from that day, his life spirals out of control.
The future Helen Smith creates in The Miracle Inspector is a terrifying one, most likely because she has pushed current social problems to their brink. The fear of paedophilia, wrongful accusations, violence and terrorism are constantly in our faces across daily media and this makes the progression in her novel highly convincing. My favourite character was Jesmond, an old poet, still reciting in underground clubs even at the risk of being made to ‘disappear’ by the forces that be. It is his storyline that really captured me and was saddened it wasn’t gone into in more detail and fizzled out halfway through the novel. The second half follows Angela and her attempt to flee the city and escape to an easier life in Cornwall, slowly unfolding as a refugee’s fight for a better life.
I would recommend this to lovers of dystopian fiction with a craving for a deeper literary style, who enjoy open ends and unanswered questions like what, how, why and when?
Buy The Miracle Inspector by Helen Smith