cover image A Man of Shadows

A Man of Shadows

Jeff Noon. Angry Robot, $14.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-85766-670-3

Noon (Mappalujo) has written a kaleidoscopic noir novel of dizzying dream logic, but the center doesn’t hold. Nyquist is an average gumshoe in an unique world. He travels between Dayzone, land of a thousand lights that burn at all hours, and Nocturna, where all but a few bulbs have been extinguished. Rather than dividing time into 24-hour cycles of activity and rest, both cities operate according to multiple other time divisions that crisscross and overlap. Separating the two cities are the mist-choked Dusklands, home to monsters just barely glimpsed in the shadows. Nyquist’s job: to track down Eleanor Bale, the daughter of a wealthy businessman. The gig proves to be anything but straightforward, and Nyquist is drawn into an ever-widening gyre of double-crosses and complications. The characters feel like wind-up archetypes whose motives never seem clear. Though the novel’s visuals are striking and beautiful, they lack substance: all glitter and no warmth. (Aug.)