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Midnight by Brenden Carlson (book review)

MIDNIGHT (Brenden Carlson) In a gritty, tech-noir version of 1930s Manhattan, an ex-cop and his robot partner must stop a killer who’s sending the city into chaos.

(Goodreads description)

In a gritty, tech-noir version of 1930s Manhattan, an ex-cop and his robot partner must stop a killer who’s sending the city into chaos.

December, 1933. The city that cannot sleep, where cartels and mobsters go bump in the night. Manhattan’s delicate peace is broken when four politicians in the pocket of America’s reigning megacorporation are murdered at the Edison Hotel, dispatched by an unknown assassin wielding a rare and unique weapon. The NYPD calls upon the only man for the job: Elias Roche, the Nightcaller.

With Upper City bigwigs in a panic and the shadowy Iron Hands poised to make a grab for the Lower City, Roche is having doubts about his role in the complex power structure as a former cop and current Mob enforcer. But he sets out to investigate, now under more scrutiny than ever before: a new radio show based on his escapades thrusts unwanted fame upon him, the FBI are breathing down his neck, and a relentless journalist is dogging his every move. Meanwhile, an awakening cynicism in his Automatic partner, Allen Erzly, is turning their already bleak world upside down. As the pressure mounts, it’s a race to find the killer before the eve of the New Year. 

Thursday Quotables Meme

On the whole, I really enjoyed it.

This is presented as a murder mystery, and at the beginning, the mystery is very strong. It tights in with the city’s political struggle for power and I found that quite interesting and well-though out. Though I’ll admit that what I enjoy the most was the social circumstances of this imagined future city, were humans and semi-human robot work side-by-side and robots are often discriminated against.

Characters are really the strong suit of the story. Elias Roche is a very complex and empathic characters that remains mysterious at the end of the story. Yes we learn a lot about him – including some things that happened in the first book in the series – but there are so many hints at things that still remain in the background and some of which we only glimpse.

Allen is also a very complex character, one that is slowly coming into himself. I loved his relationship with Elias, one that is increasingly becoming honest and deep, between two characters that are really very different.

So, the setting is very strong, the characters are also very strong. In the end, what’s lame is the mystery. Its starts out very strong, as I said, but it progressively patters out, until it resolves in something that I found quite disappointing. Besides, I realise that the mystery is really an excuse to write the story of the making of a super-hero, and so – well, it does the job. Though, seeing how the writing can be involving, I was expecting something more from the end.

But this takes noting away from the story. I really really enjoyed this one and I’ll read more from the series, if I get the chance.

Midnight

Excerpt

“Elias Roche?” she asked, coming within a few inches of me, her eye leveled with my own. She was as tall as me, which was rare, given my height. Her raspy smoker’s voice was familiar, though, despite having previously been distorted by the phone line.

“What?”

“As blunt in person as you are on paper.” She smiled, more out of pity than amusement. “Elise Schafer, head of finance for GE. Happy to meet you.”

“Why?”

Allen turned, translating my curt dialogue. “We’re thankful for the invitation, truly. My companion here isn’t well acquainted with social situations like this one.”

Schafer turned to face Allen, her prim and proper lack hair frozen in place by chemicals. She looked it up and down, conceit radiating from her. “When I said you could bring a plus one, I meant a human date, not one of these… things.”

Allen and I looked at each other before I spoke. “if you want me to go, I have no problem with that. I don’t need any snide remark about me or my partner from you and your self-righteous, silver-spoon-fed—“

“Relax, Roche. Have a drink.”Unfazed, she handed me a glass of something clear and illegal. “The inventors want to see their new poster boy, even without a muzzle. Shut up, smile, take a few photos with the bigwigs, then get out. And make sure that thing isn’t in any of the shots.”


Midnight by Brenden Carlson - In a gritty, tech-noir version of 1930s Manhattan, an ex-cop and his robot partner must stop a killer who’s sending the city into chaos.

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