I was lured in by another beautiful cover on the library shelf. A reference to William Gibson mixed with Raymond Chandler on the back, and I obviously had to bring this one home. Now that I’ve finished, I can say I’m glad that bright green caught my eye, but I’m not sure I’ll be actively searching out more Nick Harkaway.
I’ve said before I love a gritty detective novel with a twist, and that’s just what this is. This is set in a future with Titans, people who’ve undergone a procedure that reverses the aging process and causes physical growth. The procedure is wildly expensive and closely controlled – in this world, the wealthy and powerful live for generations and tower over everyone else. In comes our hero, Cal Sounder, a private detective with ties to the Titan world. He acts as a bit of a go-between, assisting the police force in matters they realistically can’t do anything about. In this case, a Titan who has been murdered.
As the story unfolds, it hits most of the expected beats – conspiracies and red herrings, treachery and dead ends. There’s quite a bit of violence and a touch of romance. The voice works, Cal Sounder has the weary, wisecracking dogged detective narration that I can’t seem to get enough of. The action works, the weird works, the mystery works, the conclusion mostly works.
Why didn’t I love love love this? I think there are some Greek mythology allusions that went over my head (and I only realize that much because I’m also rereading the Percy Jackson series), so I have a feeling it’s even more clever if you know that sort of thing. It left me feeling a little lost at times, both with setting and technology and exactly when this was supposed to be, or even how tethered to our reality. I will fully admit that while reading this, I was also having some health weirdness, so this could entirely be things I just missed! I enjoyed the plot and the characters and the pacing, but everything else was fuzzy to me. If this were the start of a new series, or if there’s ever another Cal Sounder book, I’d definitely pick it up. But I don’t feel like I’ve found my new favorite author.