Thursday, March 27, 2014

Review: HANG WIRE by Adam Christopher (Angry Robot)

I don't know how Adam Christopher does it.

First the genre-bending, retro-futuristic Empire State books, then the technicolor action of Seven Wonders; with each novel, Christopher gets better and better.  I repeatedly find myself wishing I could peek into his brain, just to see how he wrangles all these wildly original ideas into the words that keep me glued to the pages of his books.  Again, I don't know how he does it.

With Hang Wire, Christopher keeps the reading fun going, this time giving us an urban fantasy novel that brings gods, a traveling circus and a serial killer all to the rolling streets of San Francisco.  Readers that are familiar with Christopher's work will find more of the same enjoyment here; if you're experiencing Adam Christopher for the first time-Welcome!-and make yourself comfortable, since you will be kept reading in your seat til the book is finished.  

Hang Wire starts off with a bang-an explosion, actually-which gets the action going right from the gate, and Christopher keeps the pace up throughout the book, using a multiple POV narrative that is perfectly suited to telling this story.  There isn't too much time spent on world building here, Christopher preferring to dole these details out to us piece by piece, so we are left to find things out when the characters do.  Also with each chapter, we are given more and more of the characters' histories, oftentimes traveling back in time and place as the story progresses.  I found myself enjoying these characters very much and felt they were fleshed out fully as Hang Wire unfolded.

Typical of Christopher's work, there is alot going on in Hang Wire, so please take your time and read carefully.  You definitely don't want to miss anything and trust me, it will be worth it.  Christopher's strength is in his storytelling, which is always superior, and the manner in which he keeps all the plot lines woven together is masterful.  Everything comes to an action packed climax in the end and Christopher fits all the pieces together nicely.

Hang Wire is another feather in Adam Christopher's cap.  It is a great, fun book and perfect summer reading.  Pick up a copy and take it with you everywhere you go.  You won't be sorry!

Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review: JUST SO YOU KNOW I'M NOT DEAD by Anonymous-9

JUST SO YOU KNOW I'M NOT DEAD is a short collection of three stories that is highly entertaining and also serves as a great introduction to Anonymous-9's writing.  Incredibly, this is the first time I've had the pleasure of reading this author's work but I can tell you now, very soon I shall be placing her other works near the top of the Reading List.

I came across this collection while searching for "weird" fiction to read for my "Year In Weird" feature.  I knew Anonymous-9 as an acclaimed writer of mystery and noir fiction but the closing story here, "Dreaming Deep", is an homage to the old master himself,  H.P. Lovecraft.

"Dreaming Deep" is a moody story that I feel nicely captures the atmosphere Lovecraftian fiction ought to have; a story where something dark and incomprehensible is happening off stage, yet still manages to permeate the action going on right before our eyes.  What really happened to the young boy lost at sea?  The local folk believe it to be the work of a serial killer but the boy's father knows the truth...and he is locked away in an asylum.  It would be awesome if 9 decided to continue this story elsewhere, or at least write more in this genre; she is as adept here as she is in her noir fiction.

And speaking of which, let's talk about "Triangulation".  I did predict the outcome of the story but still had a blast getting there.  For being such a short piece, 9 still manages to build tension as she goes, and before you know it, sadly for we the readers, the story is over.  I felt the way 9 has written here very cinematic and I could easily see this piece at home in a Tarantino movie.

"2,984,000 Pounds of Pressure" is the middle story in the collection and again, the suspense ratchets tighter and tighter as someone from the protagonist's past stumbles back into his life and he realizes whichever decision he is about to make will change his life forever.  To say more would spoil the story but I have to say, I loved the final choice that the character makes.

JUST SO YOU KNOW I'M NOT DEAD is a wonderful little gift that Anonymous-9 has given to us; as a thank you, as an introduction, as a reminder that she is someone to watch out for.  Preferably over your shoulder, of course.

Happy reading!