by John Meaney
Cover Artist: Steve Stone
Review by Gayle Surrette
Spectra Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780553385144
Date: 26 February 2008 List Price $24.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Tristopolis is a dark city filled with secrets. Lt. Donal Riordan is a cop who seeks truth and justice no matter where it takes him. Assigned to protect a diva visiting the city, Riordan finds himself moved by her song. Before he knows what's happened he's struggling to come back to himself -- changed more than he can comprehend, thirsting to make sense of what happened and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
It sounds like a normal mystery where the honest cop finds himself in a bad situation and, fearing his superiors are crooked, must work alone to clean house. However, Meaney has created a truly alien world. From page one, the reader is thrown into this universe where death and life seem to have no sharp border between them. The dead power the city, bones make up the matrix of the archives, forensics is a science of reading bones for their messages, and nothing is as it seems.
It's not often that you open a book expecting a good science fiction/mystery crossover and find yourself blown away by a world that's so multidimensional and textured that you have to keep looking up from the pages to make sure the sky is blue and the lights are on. The setting was so foreign, alien really, that it's hard to believe just how real it seemed. It seems that greed, power, lust, and cruelty are concepts that bridge the gap between our world and others -- to make the story come alive.
There are many books that tell a compelling story with realistic characters and a satisfactory end. There are many books that we say we couldn't put down. This book is one of those, but it's also a story that doesn't let you walk quietly away when you close the book on the last page, because it's going to linger in your thoughts and your dreams -- the ideas, the relationships, and the people are memorable because of who they are and what they are willing to do to make the world a better place.