Don’t you sometimes just get tired of reading the same old thing? After a while, don’t the usual mysteries or thrillers or romances start to sound alike? When you’re reading your favorite author, doesn’t there come a moment when you realize you could anticipate what the next bit of dialogue or what the next plot twist will be, when you feel you’ve read this before, even if you haven’t? Sometimes it’s just fun to read something over the top or off the charts, and when you’re in that kind of mood, head over to the Field to look at our new and quirky novels.
Let’s start with a book whose very title tells you what you’re in for. Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, by David Wong, is not pretending to be anything other than what it is: a wild ride through a future society in which everything is just slightly (or sometimes more than slightly) off from our current world. Zoe, the heroine, starts out living in a trailer park with her stripper mother, but when her billionaire father is blown up, she’s pulled into his world, where she’s inherited his fortune and all the troubles that go along with it. And what troubles she’s facing! Her late father lived in a city called Tabula Ra$a, a place without regular police but plenty of private security, crooks who have cyborg psychotic killers at their disposal, buildings rise and fall at a moment’s notice, everything is for sale and anything can happen and usually does. To make things even wilder, the whole world is able to tune in and watch the fun and horrors through a social media interface that makes our current obsession with smartphones and the like seem primitive. Zoey, with the dubious help of her stinky cat and her own wits, has to think her way through this bizarre and hysterical world and not only survive but thrive.
While we’re on the subject of surviving in strange places and times, Rules for Werewolves, by Kirk Lynn, presents us with the voices of young squatters, living together on the fringes of society, in abandoned and foreclosed suburban houses, led by a charismatic and somewhat dangerous young man named Malcolm. He claims to be the pack leader of a group of “werewolves”, though you should be warned: these are not the kinds of guys who change their forms and howl at the full moon, though Malcolm requires that members of the “pack” undergo some kind of change in order to be full members. The book is told entirely in dialogue, so it can be a little confusing to read, but there’s a vivid life among these outcasts that makes the book well worth the effort.