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Japan-based Irish writer Colin O’Sullivan couples his usual lyrical flourishes with tense and often terrifying noir-ish scenes, to present before us an unsettling vision of an anxious woman teetering in an anxious time.

Fans of Black Mirror, the dark humour of early Haruki Murakami, and even Asimov or Aldiss, will be keen to sample another frantic foray into a near and nervy future, due to be made into a TV series.

Susie Sakamoto, an Irishwoman in Japan, spends her days drinking heavily and cursing the home robot that takes care of all her domestic needs. She despises the thing her dead husband designed and is under the impression that it is about to do her harm.

To escape the overwhelming grief of her missing family, she takes to the night-time in the lawless section of the city, loitering in seedy bars with her wild, drug-fuelled, hypersexual friend, Mixxy.

Are Susie’s persecutions merely a result of her own paranoia? Can the parliament of owls gathering eerily in the trees outside be of any significance, any assistance?

Or will she have to search for the mythic Dark Manual, to find a way to finally switch off the homebot and end her litany of woes?

…it might already be too late… the machines are on the rise.

Cover image © Baptiste Tavernier

Read an excerpt

About Colin O’Sullivan

“The Dark Manual defies easy categorisation; it’s a literary novel, a very desperate tale of love and loss, a noir thriller, of real and imaginary threats and a sci-fi speculation (which could be read as prescient future gazing). […] The Dark Manual is a mature rounded work, assured and confident, at times lyrical and beautiful but also punchy and sharp. […] engaging, inventive and thought-provoking.”  —Book Noir / Nudge-Book.com

“I read comparisons to Murakami, Aldiss, and even Black Mirror writers. I love all that stuff but I personally think O’Sullivan offers us something we really needed much more deeply: a modern-day Edgar Allan Poe. Horror that dares to be great.”  —Amazon reader review

“The author, Winner of the Prix Mystère de la critique 2018, just gets better with each book, and with this, his third, he is becoming one of the finest storytellers out there. His prose keeps one glued to the page, with delightful concentration. Colin O’Sullivan does not write a bad line. […] Colin O’Sullivan’s writing style reminds me so of jazz, with its one-word, then two-word, then three-word sentences. Bop, bop, bop-bop, until you realize you have read a paragraph, then onto a new riff. Lyrical, powerful, humorous, poetic, emotional. He is a lyrical master of the written word. There are sections of the book that are heartbreaking, in their emotional and physical sense of loss, and moments of humor, surprise, suspense, pure sudden horror, and stark naked joy.”  —Marvin Minkler, Modern First Editions