In the fourth “Repairman Jack” novel, the rakoshi are back. Those were the blue-skinned, yellow-eyed, man-eating demons from Indian prehistory, who terrorized Jack and his loved ones in “The Tomb”. Now the last rakosh—the one who left his claw-marks on Jack’s chest—has turned up in a freak show at the same quaint Long Island town where Jack battled the otherness in “Conspiracies”. Jack is torn between killing it, to make sure it can never hurt Gia and Vicky again, and leaving it alone to die in captivity. But his decision is complicated by an outbreak of extreme violence, the result of a designer drug that has become all the rage (ha, ha) in the streets of Manhattan.
Fantasy and hardboiled detective fiction have met before this novel—I cannot restrain myself from name-dropping “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” by Michael Chabon—but I don’t think any mash-up of the two has ever been quite like this book, its author’s first novel. It takes place in an unnamed, rainy city where the boundary between dreams and reality have become blurred. Here the forces of order are represented by a towering Agency whose detectives, clerks, and other operatives, work within the lines of strict policies. After years of successful crime-solving, hardly anything remains of the Agency’s nemesis—a traveling carnival that came to town and never left again, and whose troupe included the villain in some of the Agency’s greatest cases.
In this sequel to “The Ruby in the Smoke”, several years have passed. The year is now 1878, and Sally’s business as a financial consultant is growing, together with her partnership with professional photographer Webster Garland, his dashing nephew Frederick who moonlights as a private detective, and their cockney friend Jim Taylor, who haunts the backstage of London theaters when he isn’t writing melodramas or helping Fred and Sally. It is Jim who brings Fred his latest case: a stage magician named Mackinnon fears for his life after receiving psychic impressions of a murder committed by a powerful industrialist.
Seattle private detective Harper Blaine is just doing her job when, in this book’s opening pages, somebody up and beats her to death for no apparent reason. Don’t worry; she gets better. But after being dead for around two minutes, there’s no going back to business as usual. Even after the physical injuries are healed, Harper is haunted by strange images that flicker on the edge of her vision, and sometimes even more aggressively weird experiences. Her doctor refers her to some friends of his who specialize in problems at the fringe of science, if not beyond.
The author of “Lily’s Ghosts” brings us a book so funny that it hurts, set in a magical world so weird that it can only be New York City. She doesn’t come right out and name it, though. She describes it as “a vast and sparkling city, a city at the center of the universe.” But it’s also a city that has grown upward because the natural moat around it prevents it from spreading outward; a city with skyscrapers, subways, a Little Italy, a Chinatown, a Radio City Music Hall, a Times Square, and a Brooklyn Bridge.
“FRIDAY BROWN” is a heartrending new novel by Vikki Wakefield. From the very first page, Friday grabbed me by the hand and pulled me along on the whirlwind tsunami of her journey – a definite contender for favourite book of 2013. The story combines contemporary realism with myth and memory to create an incredible psychological thriller.
Tanya Byrne’s second young adult novel, “Follow Me Down”, is a suspense-filled ride of a thriller. The core characters of Adamma and Scarlett are the Thelma & Louise of a new generation.
It is at this time in history, in a village close to the marshes along a stretch of the Thames River where the prison-ships anchored, narrator “Pip” cites his earliest memories. He begins his adventures while still a small orphan boy, terrorized by the older sister who has “brought him up by hand,” and comforted only by the affection of an earthy, humble brother-in-law, a blacksmith named Joe. One day young Pip falls into the clutches of an escaped convict hiding in the marshes.
What happens when an author best known for his young adult fantasy novels pens an adult novel about crime, violence, and hair implants? Sheer mayhem! That’s what happens when a former Irish Army sergeant, turned bouncer at a gambling den in the sleepy town of Cloisters, New Jersey, stumbles into the business of an unlicensed plastic surgeon, a small-time gangster named “Irish Mike,” and a dirty lawyer who rips off drug dealers and sells their product at a steep markup. It all goes to show that you can take the peacekeeper out of the Lebanon, but… er… not sure where I was going with this.