Monday, September 26, 2011

Book review roundup

1. The Postmortal by Drew Magary: I was largely disappointed by the book. That's partly because it's an amalgamation of an embarrassing number of science fiction tropes (what if people stopped aging, and there was a killer virus, and zombie bands were on the loose, and there were Universal Soldiers, and there was a nuclear war with Russia), and partly because of my own expectations. Magary is a very funny writer. His weekly columns for Deadspin are crude and hilarious - - very similar to Howard Stern's show. And the goofy cover for The Postmortal suggests that it's a quirky, funny take on a world without natural death. But there's not a hint of humor in the book. It's unrelentingly grim. On the other hand, he's excellent at writing creepy suspense. The greenies are the most memorable villains I've come across in a long time. His next novel should be pure thriller, without the science and political predictions. Available at B&N and Amazon.

2. Zoo City by Lauren Beukes: What if Philip Pullman's Lyra Silvertongue (and her daemon) grew up and became a down on her luck detective in a Raymond Chandler story? Terrific book, highly recommended, despite an embarrassingly bad cover. Available at B&N and Amazon.

3. Quarry's Ex by Max Allan Collins: I'm on a hot streak with Hard Case Crime novels. This one is about a former master assassin who decided he could have more fun defending people (in this case, a movie director) from hired killers. Lackluster cover, but engrossing from page one, and you can read the first chapter here. Available at B&N and Amazon.