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Posted August 8, 2012
Had someone suggested that I read a book that was based on, or inspired by, a comic ...I would have (hopefully) found a very tactful way to explain that ...comics required both that one reads the words and appreciates the art, and that the art always was more important. Since I can't, physically, appreciate the art, there would be no point in my reading such a book. that would have been a shame, because I would have missed a *very* satisfying read! Don't get me wrong ...this isn't a comic book in prose, though if you read it, you'll see the connection. Whatever inspired the story, it is its own creation, and it is excellently written, with descriptions that give much and hint at more, and with characters who you want to just hug, even while they are breaking your heart because they are *so* human, and find themselves in ...an inhuman and ungentle situation.
There are dystopian elements, too ...but until the very end, they are well in the background, but they loom, like a gathering storm, and you are always aware of them, and always waiting for the violence you *know* will come.
Levi, the main character is a mix of anger, fear, brutality ...and decency, caring, protectiveness and love, who finds himself the guardian of something he doesn't understand, or want to understand. He does his best, sometimes with confidence, usually with more than a little doubt and trepidation, but even when he is sure he will do the wrong thing (which he seldom does, actually), he confronts each danger and each challenge with the determination of the desperate.
The pacing is fast, and the paranormal elements are handled in that casual, matter of fact way that make such things not only believable, but concrete. True, the ending reminded me of a 60s "love in" in its atmosphere ...but in this book, at that point in this book, given what had gone before ...it was also perfect.
Mr. Cunningham has a sensitivity to life, both on and off the streets, a fertile imagination, and the skill in writing to make both come alive in a most memorable and enjoyable way. He also creates one of the most scary villains I've come across. He is brutal, subtle, insidious, and with the mind set of a fanatic. Because of these traits, he is a psychological horror, and I would not wish him in *anyone's* worst nightmare!
I liked this book very much, and will look forward to reading more of this author's work. If I could give fractions of stars, this book would get a 4.8.