Author Mark Lingane is back with a brilliantly humorous mashup fantasy-sci-fi-Noir, “Sucker.”
Private eye Van H. Avram is your typical Mickey Spillane throwback, just about getting away with doing his job in some kind of chaotic way. But all that changes when a mysterious “skinny blond” corpse is dumped on his doorstep, opening a door into the seedy underbelly of a world of human sacrifices and ancient lores that might just end civilization as we know it. Suddenly, Avram will have to step up as the hero, and save not just the day, but the entire world. But this might be a huge leap for the PI, who is struggling with his concept of reality as vampiric dames, demons and crazy ladies seem to chase him around a steampunk kind of town with a post-apocalyptic feel. With Avram be able to overcome his own problems to tackle probably the most important case he’ll ever face? This race against time tale will tell.
Sucker is something of a Bladerunner-style novel, but it has a distinct Bugsy Malone humor to it, with vampires to boot. As usual, Lingane has managed to throw a bunch of genres at the wall and they have melded beautifully into this universe where he is the creator of some pretty amazing sequences. There is a smattering of Michael Moorcock’s Cornelius Chronicles here, where dry humor and wit serve as bedmates to gory supernatural happenings and the twisting of reality. It’s hard to say exactly who would enjoy this book in particular, and actually who wouldn’t, because there’s a whole new ambience going on here that has the sense of a new audience being formed, a new genre being formed somehow. Yes, Lingane is that good. It shows that he is a well-traveled, far-flung discoverer in real life, because descriptions seem full and well-wrought. Although we’ve been fans of this author all along, there’s something even more quirky and interesting when you juxtapose real historical elements, at that, such strong iconic ones, to form a story like this one.
There’s a Sin City narration to the prose that comic book fans will love, and some real corkers of one-liners (Just open the first page on Amazon to get a load of them, and a sense of what’s to come),
Her bedroom eyes were framed by curls, half of which were tied up with a hairpin the shape of a broken heart.
“You dress for cocktails.” I said.
“You dress like a hobo. You like cocktails?”
I shrugged. “I like free.”
Lingane should do a series of these; Avram is a great character and it would be a shame to lose him after this one: he’s like Bogart on some kind of spacey drug in a distant-planet bar, with a hint of Sherlock Holmes and a dash of Bob Arctor. Thoroughly recommended to anyone who enjoys a detective novel with a twist, or for that matter, anyone with a penchant for escapism.