Night Shift by Robin Triggs

Night Shift is more of a whodunit thriller story with some underdeveloped science fiction worldbuilding elements, and I think I would have enjoyed it more had I not been expecting a science fiction story.

About the Book

Publisher: Flame Tree Press  |  Release Date: November 6, 2018  |  Pages: 240
Genre: Adult, Thriller  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Publisher via Netgalley

Antarctica. A mining base at the edge of the world. Anders Nordvelt is over-promoted and he knows it. Arriving at Australis base on the last transport before the long night falls, he is to take over as Chief of Security. It should be an easy job. The crew have all been rigorously psychoanalysed and he’s there only because the rulebook says the position must be filled. The biggest challenge Anders anticipates is to find his place within an established group. But shortly after his arrival communications to the outside world are cut. Suspicion immediately falls upon Anders. It’s his job to uncover the culprit – but how can he find answers when the rest of the crew, bound by relationships, resentments and passions he knows nothing about, see him as the threat? Surely no-one can have crossed thousands of miles of wasteland – the sabotage must have been an inside job. But how could a criminal have got past the screening process? Then the commander’s body is found in the ice. The running of the base falls to the senior staff, Anders included, but there is open hostility towards him. Only the uncertain support of the engineer, Max, gives any hope. But can he trust her? Is he giving her too much leeway as it is? Amidst the fear the work must continue. In a world where every last scrap of fuel is precious, the minerals must keep flowing. But the attacks continue, leaving them with no heating and little food. As they shelter in a basement room, claustrophobia, starvation and madness become as big a threat as a murderer. Will Anders live long enough to find the killer? Will anyone survive the night shift, or will future explorers find only ice and frozen corpses in the last remaining wilderness on the planet?

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launching in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

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My Review

Night Shift is more of a whodunit thriller story with some underdeveloped science fiction worldbuilding elements. The story is a spin on the And Then There Were None motif of a group of strangers are isolated from the outside and are picked off one by one. 13 people are working in Antarctica for what is known as the night shift: a six month period where the sun doesn’t rise and inclement weather isolates them completely from outside help.

“We had good cause for fear. This assignment was rapidly becoming a nightmare. Just a few days into the night shift and we already had a death on our hands.”

This is a plot driven narrative told in the first person perspective of Anders and written well to keep the suspense throughout for the reader, and Triggs does a good job of expressing the characters’ paranoia through the text. I liked that the beginning started at the end with the tease of the terror about to unfold with the confidential memo.

Where this story fell flat for me was the worldbuilding. There are actually a lot of nuggets of interest that are woven into the exposition well, but we all know that I love me some worldbuilding. I was left wanting to know more about the Company, the Resource Wars, and what happened in the world to bring humanity to this point. The book is set in some undetermined future that is possibly post-apocalyptic as the purpose of the project is to mine fuel and find food and clothing solutions for the people.

I guessed the reveal, but for me, the impact that Triggs was going for was undermined by the underdeveloped worldbuilding and the ending also left me unsatisfied as there is no real resolution. And I suppose that is the point: it is about the ordeal that those at Australis went through. But there are allusions to a greater conspiracy that I would have been interested in exploring. 

Overall as a thriller is concerned, it is an enjoyable read but I was left wanting more because the world sounds so interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if Triggs expands this into a series, and I would happily read to find out more about this world.

🤝 Buddy read with Destiny!

Many thanks to Flame Tree Press for sending me an eARC for review. Quotations are taken from an uncorrected proof and may change upon publication.


spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!

9 Comments

  1. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    November 13, 2018 at 9:30 AM

    Ooooh, lovely review! I’m glad to hear this one wasn’t a total bust for you. I’m enjoying it alright so far, but like you, I’m struggling with the lack of world-building. I can’t help but feel like if you want to introduce a sci-fi aspect to your story, you should commit to it a little more than this.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      November 18, 2018 at 10:19 AM

      Thank you, Destiny! I was just so INTERESTED in the sci-fi aspects of this book and wish they had been developed a bit more. Can’t wait to hear your final thoughts on this one!

      1. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

        November 19, 2018 at 8:38 PM

        Can you believe I STILL haven’t finished it? Whoops… damn reading slump. 🙁 I’m gonna try to finish it tonight or tomorrow, I think.

  2. Tammy

    November 13, 2018 at 1:23 PM

    It sure sounds like a good concept, but I do know what you mean about world building, I love details as well😁

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      November 18, 2018 at 10:20 AM

      The details really are my favorite part of reading; worldbuilding is my fave!

  3. Greg

    November 14, 2018 at 12:07 AM

    This sounds like a fun concept, too bad it was marred a little by the worldbuilding. This reminds me a bit of the Winter Over by Matthew Iden, which was also set in Antarctica during the dark period, but that was more a thriller and wasn’t post apocalyptic or science fiction (although it flirted with being SF a little). Very similar premise sounds like. Anyway… yeah too bad this didn’t seal the deal more. 🙂

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      November 18, 2018 at 10:21 AM

      You nailed it — fun concept that could have been really awesome! Thanks for stopping by!

  4. November in Review – Reader Voracious Blog

    December 2, 2018 at 9:29 AM

    […] * Night Shift by Robin Triggs: This is a plot-driven whodunit mystery with some underdeveloped science fiction elements (which is a shame because I was REALLY interested in the world). I enjoyed this story, which is a spin on the And Then There Were None motif of a group of strangers are isolated from the outside and are picked off one by one. 13 people are working in Antarctica for what is known as the night shift: a six month period where the sun doesn’t rise and inclement weather isolates them completely from outside help. 📖 Read my full review of Night Shift here. […]

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