Kingdom Come is the first book I've ever read by J.G. Ballard, but it won't be the last.
First a quick run down of the plot (no major spoilers that can't be found in the blurb of the book). Richard Pearson sets off to meet his estranged father, an ex-fighter pilot living his retirement in the Motorway town of Brooklands. He finds that the town is in the shadow of the Metro-Centre, a vast shopping mall described as a temple to shopping and consumerism.
Before Richard can meet his father however, his father is shot in the Metro-Centre, (along with quite a few other people) and dies in hospital. Richard swears to uncover the mystery behind the shootings.
The main suspect is quickly arrested and then, strangely released without charge, after so called "pillars of the community" vouch in the suspects favour. Very soon Richard finds himself caught in the emerging madness fermenting it self in the quiet suburbs and Metro-Centre.
The first comment to make- the plot is weak. Actually no, that's an unfair statement. It's more that the plot unravels itself smoothly but in a few places you'll be wondering why certain characters are acting the way they are. In particular the main character does things that seem slightly illogical, given his beliefs and views in the text.
Secondly the impression from this book is that subtlety is missing from Ballard's vocabulary. A lot of the characters don't have conversations- they make speeches. Lots of them. Often reiterating the same points without actually changing their tune at all. This is quite absurd and the constant repetition is annoying.
However don't let that put you off from reading this. It is pure fertile reading for the mind. Ballard seems to pin down the itchy apathetic feeling that comes from a heavy consumerist society. There's quite a through look into fascism and selective madness (and why, perhaps the Germans supported the Nazis). The Author seems to have picked up on some of the latent xenophobia, hatred and violence going through Britain at the moment and gives a rather chilling explanation as to why.
And the final part of the book is explosive to say the least. This is the part I feel was what Ballard was most comfortable writing because it seemed to be more varied, more subtle and more creatively disturbing. You'll probably predict it coming but it's pulled off with style and in such a dark manner that you won't mind.
From what I've heard the third and final part is very similar to an earlier novel called High-Rise. But I can't really comment on that.
A good novel if you like your taste in literature dark and disturbing and if you aren't easily put off by the annoyances I've mentioned.