Stross: Rule 34

• I reviewed Rule 34 when it was published in 2011 and it has been on my bookshelf ever since, far too good to throw away but challenging enough that I didn’t pick it up for a second reading until last week. Here’s my (old) review, shortened slightly but otherwise unchanged, with a (new) afterword to bring it up to date.

cover of Rule 34Rule 34

Charles Stross

Orbit, 2011

Rule 34 is an internet meme which says, “If it exists, there is porn of it,” and Rule 34 centres on an Edinburgh policewoman whose daily job is dealing with its consequences.

Not that DI Liz Kavanaugh has any hope of stemming the tide of porn sloshing around the web (it’s about ten years into our future and all law enforcement agencies have tacitly abandoned the attempt), but her unit tries to prevent the worst of it from spreading.

On secondment to another unit, she is called to take charge of a murder scene as bizarre as any porn fantasy.   Continue reading “Stross: Rule 34”

Browne: Rendezvous at Kamakura Inn

book coverAustralian writer Marshall Browne establishes a convincing Japanese ambiance for his tenth novel, a dark, bloody riff on the familiar theme of a good cop breaking the law to achieve justice.

A long, dangerous, Tokyo Police investigation into a corrupt politician is abruptly shut down, days short of success. The squad is broken up and its leader, Inspector Aoki, sent on leave. A prominent journalist breaks the story shortly afterwards and is brutally murdered in response – and we haven’t even reached the end of the prologue.

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Mosley: Little Scarlet

book coverThe latest instalment of Easy Rawlins’ story opens in the aftermath of the Watts riots in Los Angeles in 1965. A black woman has been murdered in her home during the riots and the police call on Easy for help in finding the killer. They hate to have to ask but they know their own detectives would only re-ignite the smouldering tension between black residents and the white city administration.

Easy Rawlins has come a long way since Devil in a Blue Dress, seventeen years in his past and fifteen in ours. Continue reading “Mosley: Little Scarlet”

Rankin: Fleshmarket Close

book coverIan Rankin has been writing his Rebus books since 1987 and I only discovered them last year. How could I have missed out on a writer this good for so long?

The first few pages of Fleshmarket Close set the scene and initiate three investigations. Detective Inspector John Rebus and his friend and colleague DS Siobhan Clarke have been moved from their old base to work in cramped conditions in Edinburgh’s West. Rebus is assigned to the investigation of the murder of an unidentifiable but clearly foreign man, stabbed and left to die between two blocks of squalid Council flats. At the same time, Clarke is asked for help in tracing a runaway teenage girl. Later that same day, Clarke and Rebus together are sent to discover the history of a pair of skeletons found under the cement floor of a hotel.

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