Sunday, March 25, 2012

Three A.M.-Steven John

Three A.M.

Steven John

Tor Books, Mar 27 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780765331168

Over fifteen years ago, a lethal pandemic breakout left millions dead; scientists failed to find the cause. Soon after the mass deaths, a fog engulfed the city; but this thick mist has never dissipated. No one can enter or leave the city as the fog is like a giant prison.

In spite of excessive use of alcohol and drugs to numb his overwhelming sense of hopelessness, having not seen the sun since he was twenty eight, private detective Thomas Vale, wakes up every morning at 3:00 AM. He never deviates from that time even though he could use more sleep and rarely has a reason to get up that early. He visits Heller to collect money owed him but accepts instead a tape of “Shoppin” (Chopin), Rebecca waits for Vale at his sh*hole office to retain him. Two to three weeks ago someone murdered Samuel Ayers. The police arrested Fallon Samson who she insists is innocent. He takes on the case though he assumes that Samson killed Ayers. His simple investigation twists into something more precarious involving the disease and the fog.

The atmosphere is thick as readers will feel they wander in the fogged bound city in which residents have given up on the present and future with survival the only objective and holding on to precious personnel relics from before as a token of what was lost. Thomas is a delightful hard-boiled detective though his opponents seem inept. Rebecca is more of a stereotyped of the femme fatale cotton candy rather than a full blooded slick user. Readers will enjoy this exciting noir as paraphrasing Carl Sandburg’s Poem Fog, “… It sits looking over harbor and city on silent haunches”, but never moves on.

Harriet Klausner

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