Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
An Eastern European mercenary helps a young schizophrenic woman impregnated with two mysterious babies travel from Russia to Canada, along the way brushing up against the Siberian mafia, Native American hackers, Canadian biker gangs, a self-aware Artificial Intelligence, a doomsday religious cult, and more strange characters.
Maurice Dantec's baroque cyberpunk novel Babylon Babies is a dense, maddening chunk of
sci-fi, but not without its merits for patient readers. Dantec is brimming with fresh ideas, delivered in a sardonic tone, but is prone to lengthy digressions and side treks. I would recommend this to anyone who had read a lot of the sci-fi canon and would like a challenge.
The movie Babylon A.D. is a Vin Diesel action flick theoretically based on the book, though the movie has the slenderest whisper of a connection to this sprawling, chewy work.
I listened to a very good audio book version of this on loan from the Morrison-Reeves Library in Richmond, Indiana.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
A punch-drunk boxer from the mean streets of Chicago is fresh out of the asylum when he finds a dead blonde in his hotel in Day Keene's crackling noir To Kiss, or Kill. Soon steely cops, mouthy reporters, and bad women are all on his trail.
Dark humor and a relentless pace make this outing memorable. Keene also surprises with an upbeat ending, a rare sight to see in noir writing.
Day Keene is a current fave hardboiled writer that I only recently discovered (with Home is the Sailor being the launching point) and I am currently on the prowl for more of his work.
I snagged this one for 99 cents on my beloved Kindle.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
His first novel, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, was one of my favorite reads of this year, and the follow-up is not far behind. Those who enjoyed the first one will find a richer experience with the backstories of the characters in the second, but it can also more or less stand alone.
I chew through a lot of mysteries and thrillers, as loyal readers here have observed, and enjoy changing it up with Scandinavian mystery authors now and then, an increasingly popular genre in the U.S. Their storytelling has a tendency to be less linear and more ruminative, with shifting points of view. This novel is big and chunky at more than 500 pages, but reads at a good clip and is translated in a straightforward style.
I had the great fortune to be sent a copy of this novel to give away during Knopf's "Tattoo You" contest, but naturally read it before declaring the winner.