It tells the story of Scott Carty, a derivatives trader plagued by vivid dreams. Carty is asked to deliver a locked briefcase to an energy conference in Eastern Europe and becomes embroiled in the sinister dealings of his boss. Soon after, Carty is a wanted man hiding out in the Siberian forest, where he discovers he is not the only one seeking solace there.
All of the trademark thriller motifs are correct and present: conspiracy, globe-trotting, murder, beautiful women and long-kept secrets. However, Blue Eye is a new type of thriller, abandoning the usual detective and crime sub-genres to instead focus on alternative energy and harnessing the power of the subconscious.
It is unique to find a thriller where the action is rarely conveyed through fistfights, instead opting for debate, corporate fraud investigations and psychoanalysis. This may sound dry but it is testament to Elner's direct writing style that you will be turning the pages as quickly as if this were a Lee Child novel.
Elner's protagonist, Scott Carty, is an equally unconventional leading man. Carty is not a detective or an ex-military man. He cannot fend off attacks from multiple adversaries like Harry Hole or Jack Reacher. Instead, Carty is an everyman who works in finance. His special abilities are a knowledge of renewable energy and an increasing respect of Jungian theory. He would rather rely on the I Ching than his fists. Carty's ordinary nature is what makes his adventures so extraordinary and Elner proves that any character, if written well, can make for an engaging leading man.
Much of these extraordinary adventures are set in the Siberian forest, the taiga, around Lake Baikal, the Blue Eye of the title. It is a fascinating backdrop for a thriller, providing an intriguing second act where Carty can learn more about energy. Boris the Buryat teaches him about qi life energy, whilst scientist Lubimov makes Carty aware of impossible advancements in renewable energy. Both Boris and Lubimov are brilliant additions to the novel.
Ultimately, this is a fascinating read, packed with well-researched information about its subject matter and unafraid to tread new ground. This may well be the first energy thriller ever written.
Elner's next novel, the follow-up Green Eye, is currently being written. Based on the strengths of Blue Eye, expect this to be a very successful series. Keep an eye on Elner.
Blue Eye is available on Kindle and paperback.