Cold Fusion 2000 by Karl Drinkwater #BookReview #BlogTour

Alex Kavanagh is a pedantic physics geek – a teacher who hates teaching, a lover who’s always getting dumped, a writer whose articles all get rejected, a 28-year-old still living at home and bullied at the bus stop by teenagers – and he’s just had the worst day of his life. Things can only get better, right?
Enter his ex, Lucy, in what seems to be a chance meeting. Her betrayal marked the point when his life went nuclear. But – holy protons! – he still loves her.
Two problems. First, she isn’t who he thinks she is. Second, she’s going to leave him forever in 72 hours.
Cold Fusion 2000 is a haunting novel about a man who’s too rational to believe in ghosts and too short-sighted to see what was in front of him all along.
I'm delighted to be closing the blog tour for Cold Fusion 2000 today, alongside the lovely Sarah at bytheletterbookreviews. Many thanks to Karl Drinkwater and Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side for inviting me and for the digital copy of the novel.

I've had the pleasure of reading one of Karl Drinkwater's sci-fi novels, Lost Solace and as I know he writes across a range of genres, I was intrigued to read Cold Fusion 2000. It's certainly very different but I was captivated by this intelligent, witty love story which so perceptively explores the ties of Alex's past, the apathy of his present and the possibilities for his future.
The book opens with one of the best recaps of a character's past that I can ever recall reading; by using song titles (beginning with Ebeneezer Goode and ending with That Don't Impress Me Much), readers are taken on a whistle-stop tour of Alex's adulthood to date. In just a few clever lines we learn that he started a PhD in Physics but after his relationship with his girlfriend, Lucy ended, he left university and began teaching in a further education college; five years later, nothing has changed, he still lives at home and still hates his job. It's now the year 2000 and either the start or end of the millenium, depending on your viewpoint (it matters very much to Alex!) and as the story begins properly, it's clear that he has stagnated and is still living as a young person on the brink of adulthood rather than as a 28-year-old man.
A picture soon emerges of an intelligent but socially awkward man who spends more time in his own head than is good for him and whose social life is almost non-existent. He dreams of having a physics paper published but there's something so painfully chaotic about his thoughts that it's impossible not to pity him, even though he is often self-centred to the point of rudeness. Although his relationship with Lucy has been over for years, he doesn't seem to have been able to move on and is a rather sad and lonely figure. It's obvious that he is completely dissatisfied with his life but there comes a point where his mental health is clearly very fragile and it's difficult to see how he is going to be able to progress from this point.
Therefore, it's a pleasant surprise to see a very different side to Alex when Lucy suddenly appears in his life again. He isn't so obsessed with physics and his conversations with her about poetry and art are fascinating and really quite touching. I really warmed to his character at this point in the book because he begins to open up a little and allows himself to take risks even though he it makes him vulnerable to being hurt again. Lucy is an intriguing character; the reader learns a little more about her than Alex is aware of, but nevertheless, there does seem to be something she is holding back - possibly from herself as much as from Alex.
It's hard to review Cold Fusion 2000 without giving anything away but in the latter part of the book, Alex has the opportunity to change his life and I was curious to see how he would react. This is often a very humorous read but it's also an insightful look at how a person can be deeply affected by life's disappointments and although I didn't fully warm to him initially, by the end of the novel I was desperate for him to be happy. There are two other significant women in his life, his sister, Kelly and her friend, Natalie and I really enjoyed seeing how their interactions evolve during the course of the story. Karl Drinkwater writes such beautifully nuanced, believable characters who can perhaps be a little irritating at first but then later reveal a totally different side to their personality. There's a real warmth to the writing too, with the importance of family being valued as much as romantic love, and I thought the depictions of Alex's extended family were wonderfully authentic.
Cold Fusion 2000 is brilliantly deceptive novel with little clues scattered throughout as to the truth - whatever that may be... It's a story about the impossible being possible - which can be interpreted a number of ways, but just as Alex is a physics geek who also loves art and poetry, so the book can be more than one thing at the same time.  How much is real and how much is fantasy is debatable and there are no definitive answers here so it very much depends on each reader's own analysis of the events. There are quite a few physics references and although I didn't fully understand them all, I was always able to appreciate why they were there. I also really enjoyed the information included about various artworks and the way in which they linked with the plot. I love books which take me out of my comfort zone and make me think and the cleverly structured, engaging and multi-layered Cold Fusion 2000 did just that. Highly recommended.

Cold Fusion 2000 can be purchased from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Kobo and Hive.

Don't forget to visit the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.
He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.
When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.
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  1. Oh my protons, this review blows me away! The key for any author is to somehow pair up a book with its reader (it ties in to one of Ranganathan's library laws), and this perceptive review shows that I succeeded, since your feelings absolutely match mine about the characters I created and the plot I ... well, plotted. Love is being able to see the positives and acknowledge but forgive the minor quirks in those we care about, and compassion for stories comes through in your words. Sorry, I'm a bit overwhelmed by this great review. Thank you so much! :-)

    1. It’s such a pleasure, Karl. I’m so pleased you enjoyed my review, I read your FAQs after writing it and was pleased (and relieved!) to see my thoughts about the book were in line with your intentions. I know every book is open to the reader’s own interpretation but I am always pleased to hear I’ve understood what the author was hoping to express. It’s a fabulous book, I loved it!

  2. Thank you for closing off the blog tour today Karen x


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