Each Labour Day weekend, crazy writers all over the globe sit down and try to write a novel in three days. The ones who finish their manuscripts bundle them up and submit them to Anvil Press, which chooses the winner of the Three-Day Novel Writing Contest and eventually publishes it. Three-day novels tend to get off the ground quickly and move along at a good pace but then, understandably, founder near the end. Socket by David Zimmerman (Anvil), this year’s winner, is an exception: the story never lets up. The novel follows Ronald, a Canadian aid worker, from his arrival at the airport in Eritrea in the midst of civil war, through his attempts to find someone—anyone—who knows about the irrigation project he is supposed to work on, to a work camp for a uranium mine. The story is so tightly written that you can’t put it down. Things go from bad to worse for Ronald and the fellow inmate he befriends; then, just as a ray of hope appears, the novel comes crashing to a conclusion that reminds all of us here in the comfy First World that we have no experience of anarchy and desperation.