by Adam Christopher
Review by Steve Sawicki
Angry Robot Digital ISBN/ITEM#: 9780857663184
Date: 28 January 2014
Joel, the manager of a carnival, has spent the past 150 years collecting pieces of his rides from various places and now he's ready for the grant finale. Jack, the owner of the circus which includes the carnival has two new acts--a Celtic drum/dance group and Highwire, an amazing acrobat. Profits are good but that's about it as there's constant fighting and a large spool of wire has been stolen.
San Francisco is playing host to the circus and a new serial killer--one who murders by hanging his victims using wire to do so. It's gruesome and horrid and the police don't have a clue. Meanwhile, Bob, a beach bum who also dances ballroom with tourists, is getting bad feelings, the same he got in 89 and in 07, the time of the last two big earthquakes and the times before then. Bob is pretty old, and a god to boot.
While all this is going on, Ted, Alison and Benny, who all work on a local blog, have become wrapped up in it as well. Ted now has a Korean god cohabiting his body, Benny is the path for a different god and Alison is trying to figure out why her friends are acting kind of strange. The end of the world might be coming, if only people would notice.
This is an interesting book in that it is not told in a linear style and has a lot of major players. It also deals with the theme of the other, in this case a space intelligence coming to Earth which is still, sort of, controlled by the old gods, although many no longer exist and most have left. Being non-liner is an interesting way to tell a story. It allows you to get a lot of history in without slowing down the actual plot, so, in a sense, you can do both at the same time.
Adam Crhistopher tells quite a story here and he does so in a masterful way. The writing is sharp and to the point. The dialogue has pep. The story arc itself is pretty intense, and the whole package is finely wrapped. It's a gift for readers. It's labeled an urban fantasy but it just as well could be labeled as social SF. Regardless, it's great reading. Highly recommended.