"...she had appeared like some kind of bizarre nymph that might have sprung from one of the dying trees."
I love reading stories taking place from my home city, and even though I lived in a smaller city across the green waters of Puget Sound, Seattle is our Mecca, this Emerald City, our capital of Sin. Where as children we went to see Robert Plant and Van Halen and danced in the aisles as Madonna crawled across stage crooning "Like a Virgin:" in her first stop for her inaugural world tour. It is timeless for the children of the 80's. Writing about such a city means a challenge directed to me and so many of Her own. The town gets in your blood, you see, one must remember not to be a slave to the memories and let her grow and move on Yes, She is timeless, just as such a tale I believe Bone Wires will be for quite some time.
Bone Wires reads as if someone stumbled across the corpse of Mary Shelly frozen in the wasteland of Antarctic after her monster left her there in hopes of future dreams, only to have some twisted word geneticist harvest an egg and fertilize said egg with the seed of Raymond Chandler and William Gibson. Then read stories from the archives of my fellow children of the 80's fading Shadowrun campaigns, (minus the elves, orcs and other fantasy creatures) into the speakers of the birthing waters from where the story springs forth. A story to darken our dreams with a twisted noir tale of mystery, science fiction and some mind-blowing symmetry and dance. Around and around the slick shiny pole it goes, with Gangster Northwest Indians still clinging to the hope, to a small edge of land against a dead body of water. To the insanity that is slowly creeping and threatening not only to take over our Mecca, this metropolis in the middle of chaos but to cause the dreams and ambitions of a company homicide detective crumble around him one corner at a time
Detective Grey is represented as a slave to himself, to the company, to fashion and popular beliefs, just like everyone else. But just as he wants more out of his job as a corporate police officer, like many in the field, he wants a little bit more out of life. His fashion a bit more posh, his cars a little more shiny, his coffee real and his lapels shiny. He is over the top, as is so many in this story. He can sum up the story, just all of what is wrapped up, at least one aspect of it. Angie, this dark-haired femme fatale represents the same section, but she is casting a light into the dark corners. She symbolizes the painted beauty of the inner city, those that think they are untouchable, as if their actual money and presence, where they live, what they eat and drink. What they wear... not much different then today, yet the story is much more than that. The allegory entails a very subtle and gentle sable brush, with short light pressured sweeps to bring out the tease and hints of the darkens.
I know I sound a bit over dramatic (OK a lot), forcing these purpl'ish prose upon you, I hope you can forgive me. This is another book that took me back to feelings I remember evoked by each of the aforementioned authors and all the times I played Shadowrun. It also made me think, really think about the meaning behind the disturbing imagery within. For example, the Indian tribe is the Duwamish which literally means "The People of the Inside". The Duwamish are Chief Seattle's tribe, of which the Emerald City is named and a tribe that can be traced back to 6th century AD.. The symbolic importance not only includes a NW Indian Tribe, but using the Duwamish is not lost on me. You do not need to know your Pacific NW history to recognize the significance the current "chief" of what is left of this tribe represents. Though he plays a quiet behind the curtain role, his is not one to ignore, remember that as you read the book.
It was more then the above much more. It was not just hard-boiled, or noir (by the way if you are thinking Bladerunner, think again nothing like that). It had romance, a dark twisted screwed up romance which at one point while reading I was thinking, "Oh gods, another guys attempt at a sex scene, will they not learn penthouse forum is not a legitimate source?" As the story progressed and the allegories were being brought forth stronger and stronger, much like the real coffee the main character, Detective Grey was drinking, I had an "ah-ha" moment and smiled. Oh yes this man can write! I ended up drinking a forbidden energy drink at one point so I could finish the last bit it was holding me so tight, but my brain was over worked and needed sleep. (bah sleep is for weenies and over rated!).
I have to check exactly where I am at but this is for sure in my top 12 of the year. This book is amazing. I was told not to read the first book as it was not as well written but I may just to have the story because I love how Michael Shea's mind actually works. I really love a well written mind-fuck. Yep, exactly that. No excusing or apologizing for the language. This was straight up a story to make you go holy shit and as soon as you finish want to start it again because surely you can get more out of it. It is that good.
This writer is an up and coming star. I am sure there was something in there that was off, perhaps a typo or missed space but I cannot recall, and frankly do not care. Maybe there isn't who knows? What is my point with that? THE STORY is the point. How this writer was able to take complex allegorical story devices and weave them into a cyberpunk world without it being to outlandish and over the top and still maintain the same smokey flavor of decaying flesh like the orchids from the hot-house had in The Big Sleep? I bought a book for my former American Pros teacher, who is a hard-core noir fan and who taught us not only Raymond Chandler's literary hard-boiled stories, but also shared many of his poetry collections. She showed how a poet can contribute to the telling of a story, and what makes good allegory and why this style of writing is what makes or breaks these hard-boiled novels.
I could keep going but frankly I would get lost in the maze, or is that he haze, of this story. My question is, do you like procedural? Do you like mysteries? Can you handle disturbing imagery painted with brilliant allegorical context and subtle symbolic symmetry? How about dark, bloody violent and with the promise of a bit of hope for humanity? Well that maybe a bit too much because I am not sure who had the most hope, myself, or the protagonist.
I think I want you to be the judge though, if I could I would buy all my friends I know who like this type of novel, a copy of this book. I cannot recommend it higher. It is NOT a tale for the meek, or those who abhor violence. The visceral aspects are necessary. I could write a 15 page paper on the sociological and culturally implicated symbology alone. It is getting a full set of five stars, or in honor of Seattle, five umbrellas!