The Night Market by Jonathan Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
”He didn’t know what was going on with him. He felt so hollowed out, he could almost hear the rush of the emptiness inside him. It was the blank sound at the mouth of an elevator shaft.
He had no idea what would fill that hole, no sense of what he was looking for.”
”I have kissed honey lips
Felt the healing in the fingertips
It burned like fire
This burning desire
I have spoke with the tongue of angels
I have held the hand of a devil
It was one empty night
I was cold as a stone
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for
But I still haven't found
What I'm looking for”
I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking for---U2
The ethereal sounds of the Joshua Tree album kept floating through my head as I read this book, played at a slower speed so Bono’s enunciation was elongated. Blue and red electric sheep froliced on the periphery of my vision. I watched my cell phone spin slowly in a pitcher of water. Bubbles streamed upward as if it were drowning. I put a book on top of the pitcher, not a good book, but one of those books that trees weep over the making. I’d already turned the TV to face the wall. I unplugged everything electronic in the house. It took a sledgehammer to break my computer into enough jagged pieces to ease the bubbling anxiety in my stomach. I looked at the scattered plastic pieces on the lawn and resisted the urge to fling them over the fence or better yet throw them into the nearest bog and watch them sink from view. I shut the blinds to keep from looking at them.
Where’s Deckard when you need him?
I’m writing this on a Big Chief Tablet with a #2 pencil. (I tore the cover off the tablet because the Indian was inducing me to buy Indian Motorcycle Cigars.) Old school, you say? Well read this book, and you might think that old school is as hip as you want to be. I have a friend who is going to pick these pages up and take them to another friend and so on. Some brave soul in Russia will be the one who actually loads my words up to the web. I hope the glow worms in his head don’t make him give me up for a lifetime supply of Black Aria perfume.
Need, want, desire. Who can separate them anymore?
”Three women were taking shelter from the rain beneath the bar’s awning, their faces lit by the paper-thin glowcard advertisements they held. Every few seconds, one of the women would tap a glowcard against her cell phone to consummate a purchase. Discarded screens pulsed like LED embers around their feet, twinkling with soft music and looping videos.”
If you resemble this ensemble, then you probably should stop reading this review now because it is probably pointless. This review will not tell you what you want to hear. It will not liberate you. You are probably already lost.
What do I tell you about Ross Carver? He is a cop who lands in…”gray moss. Like a carpet of it spread across a rot-shrunken log. Carver could see the bones of his fingers, could see the riverine fissure marks in his skull where patches of scalp had eaten away.” He is thrown into a decontamination unit along with his partner, Jenner. He wakes up in his bed with no memory of...well...much of anything. His beautiful and intriguing neighbor Mia is sitting by his side reading a book to him.
It all feels right with a serpentine twist of something very wrong.
"If she's not crazy," Jenner said, "then she knows something. But maybe it's not the same thing she's telling you."
There is absolutely nothing wrong with Mia’s apartment, though.
”He saw no TVs, no computers, no telephones and no radios. Instead, she had books. Hundreds and thousands of hardback volumes on shelves built throughout the apartment. It smelled like the Rare Books room of the San Francisco Library--aged leather and the exotic musk of dry paper.”
Oh sweet nectar...daddy’s home.
Mia peels the labels from her wine bottles. That might sound eccentric, but not to me. I want to drink a bottle of wine because I’ve chosen to drink a bottle of wine.
Carver, the poor bastard, really tries, but he is caught in a situation where, even if he wins every battle, he will still lose the war. The conspiracy is bone deep. To bring it down, he’d have to reboot civilisation and leave it...dark. This book is set in the near future, or so they say. I’m the one sitting here watching my cell phone drown in the present, or is it already the past?
Jonathan Moore has written a loosely connected San Francisco trilogy which frankly ends with a glow-rious bang. The writing is top shelf; the thrills bring chills, and the noir atmosphere drips with the metallic essence of Blade Runner. It is only science-fiction if you don’t want to believe.
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