Sunday, July 24, 2016

#30: The Deep Sea Diver's Syndrome by Serge Brussolo

A pulp-loving schlub realizes he can dredge unique artwork out of his dreams--but when the dream world becomes more attractive than the real world, he runs into trouble in Serge Brussolo's hallucinatory neo-noir The Deep Sea Diver's Syndrome.

Brussolo appears to be somewhat of a cult figure in his native France, but this is his first novel translated into English.  If this psychedelic mash-up of genres is any indication, he could develop a following here as well.

The dream world story is hard-boiled crime, and the real world story is near-future dystopian science fiction; both genres on hand will be pleasing to fans.

If the plot of Brussolo's work sounds to the reader like the plot of Inception, it does have some similarities, though this novel was published before the film.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana and read it quickly.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

#29: Lord of the Swallows by Gérard de Villiers

Part-time spy and full-time ladies' man Malko Linge swings into action when the wife of a Soviet agent offers up a list of spies--but only if Linge kills her husband's mistress--in Gérard de Villiers' espionage thriller Lord of the Swallows.

de Villiers is just now getting widespread attention in English translation after penning about 200 spy novels featuring Linge over almost fifty years. 

Although compared to a French James Bond, I found the character, who favors kinky sex and politically incorrect views, to have more in common with "Men's Adventure" spies of the 60s and 70s like Joe Gall and Sam Durell.  Stories ripped from the headlines--or sometimes predicting the headlines, over the years--points towards de Villiers' longevity.

I thought this was a crackling thriller and read it quickly, and will be looking for the other recent translations of these novels.

I checked this out from the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana and read it very quickly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

#28: Apricot's Revenge by Song Ying

The death of two real estate tycoons sends a group of cops, and one intrepid reporter, chasing a case that leads back to the darkest days of the Cultural Revolution in Apricot's Revenge by Song Ying.

This mystery, translated from Chinese, hits some pretty good beats, but probably is most interesting as a snapshot of life in contemporary China.  How the characters live and interact is as compelling as how the mystery unfolds.  The structure of the story is a bit unusual as well (though what part is due to the translation, I am not certain).

Overall, Song Ying has produced a solid police procedural, with insights into Chinese culture, of interest to mystery readers looking for a different voice and setting.

I picked this up at the Morrisson-Reeves Public Library in Richmond, Indiana.