City of Devilsby Justin Robinson, Fernando Caire, Alan Caum
World War II was only the beginning. When the Night War ravages America, turning it into a country of monsters, humans become a downtrodden minority. Nick Moss is the only human private eye in town, and he's on the trail of a missing city councilor. With monsters trying to turn him - or, better yet, simply kill him - he's got to watch his back while trying to find his man. Or mummy, as the case may be.
Once, it was the City of Angels. But now, Los Angeles is the City of Devils...and Nick has a devil of a job to do.
- Candlemark & Gleam
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- 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.81(d)
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The funnest (and funniest) monster fantasy noir you'll read this year (or any year). What's it like being one of the last humans living in a city filled with monsters? Well, you could ask Nick Moss, but he'd probably be too busy dodging phantoms, werewolves, gremlins, crawling eyes, and friendly pumpkinheads to answer you. In City of Devils, Robinson uses his considerable knowledge of both classic monsters and classic noir to create an intricate and engrossing (and at times, hilarious) tale of trying to make your way in the big city. Owing as much to H.P. Lovecraft and Universal Monsters as to Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler or Walter Mosley, you might think of this as a worthy literary successor to the criminally underrated Cast a Deadly Spell. Like Easy Rawlins (but with much better home security), Moss deftly tries to solve a complicated case while always remaining mindful of his status as a second-class citizen and all the dangers and complications inherent therein. As with a lot of the best science fiction/fantasy, there is a good deal of metaphorical/allegorical social commentary, but it’s never heavy handed (think later original Star Trek) or gets in the way of what’s a very funny tale that never takes itself too seriously. As an extra bonus, the artwork in this book is absolutely amazing and really adds a lot to the overall experience of drawing you into this world. With every new work, Robinson continues to impress me and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
Classic Noir and Movie Monsters in Just the Right Blend A good noir detective story needs certain elements: A wise-cracking detective with panache and moxie? Nick Moss fits the bill. A long-legged receptionist whose is loyal to her boss but dreams for more? We have Serendipity Sargasso who dreams of being discovered. A femme fatale with uncertain motives? Imogen Verity, star of the screen fits the bill. Movie monsters roaming the street hoping to feast on the miniscule percentage of the population that is still human? Yes. Wait. Normally no, but for City of Devils? YES. Robinson turns the tired cliches of the detective story into something fun and altogether unique. Even when cheering for our all-too-human protagonist as he matches wits against witches, werewolves and wendigos, the story gives its inhuman characters a tale that you want to know as well. The artwork is amazing. There are both fantastic art inserts of the important (non-human) characters and perfectly pitched time-period and noir-appropriate ads. Making a good story a unique book.
This is my favorite of Robinson's novels so far. There's something about the tone and the characters that I really get into. Also, and although I like his other novels, this one feels most "comfortable" for him as an author, in terms of the voice and style. I heartily recommend this for fans of humor and monsters alike. One of my favorite characters in this novel has a pumpkin for a head, and a very special relationship with the protagonist. I haven't read anything else like this before, and I love the unique touches to every monster that makes an appearance. Lore and mythology are wrapped up so nicely with a Hollywood bow on top; each character that's introduced makes me wish that I could read a separate book on each variation of creature. Another thing I like about this protagonist (and most of his characters, honestly) is that he never feels like a Mary Sue. He's never the most handsome, or the most skilled or clever. And although he has his fair share of admirers in this novel, you'll be pleased to discover the twist that explains why.