cover image Within Without

Within Without

Jeff Noon. Angry Robot, $14.99 trade paper (376p) ISBN 978-0-85766-898-1

Noon’s fourth supernatural mystery featuring private investigator John Nyquist (after Creeping Jenny) is less successful than his others, with a mind-bending plot that’s both nonlinear and confusing. In 1960, Nyquist and his assistant, Teddy Fairclough, take a case in the appropriately-named city of Delirium, a place where many people have reportedly been trapped forever, “walking the streets at night aimlessly, seeking a doorway, an entrance, a port or gate, a border to cross, just any goddamn way to escape.” Despite some rational reservations about the locale, Nyquist accepts movie star Vince Craven as a client and—after he and Fairclough maneuver their way into Delirium, which proves no easy feat—he learns that Craven is missing his “image,” Oberon, the version of himself that he uses for public appearance. Somehow, Oberon’s spirit was involuntarily removed from Craven’s body. The quest to retrieve him sends Nyquist into a labyrinthine world and leads to encounters with various literary figures, including Gregor Samsa and Miss Havisham. Noon’s world is weird as ever, but here the off-kilter environment overwhelms the plot and the further Nyquist wanders into Delirium, the harder it is to follow his adventures. Fans will hope for a return to form in the next book. [em]Agent: Michelle Kass, Michelle Kass Agency. (May) [/em]