Brad's Reviews > Finch

Finch by Jeff VanderMeer
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's review
Oct 31, 10

Read in October, 2010

It speaks to the fondness that I had for 'City of Saints and Madmen' that I ran out and purchased this immediately afterwards.

What a triumphant sequel. Rather than returning to the characters and streets rendered in 'City of Saints and Madmen' we find ourselves dumped several centuries into the future of Ambergris... into a city occupied and transformed by the mysterious Grey Caps.

Although 'City' flirted with the horror genre at times, it pulled back from gore and terror to remain safe in a sort of genre-less freeform. Finch is clearly a work of horror fiction, with ample inspiration from noir. The seedy underbelly of occupied Ambergris is full of David Cronenberg-ish body horror: People 'colonized' by the fungus, rotting and stretched into new forms.

As a noir homage, this worked completely for me. We join the mysterious detective Finch, as he untangles a routine murder for his Grey Cap handlers. As to be expected, there's an exotic beauty who may or may not be a spy, plenty of brtual street characters and a series of intriguing clues. What isn't expected is the beautiful way this plays out under the flickering blue bio luminescence of Ambergris, nor VanDerMeer's masterful characterizations.

One of the most enjoyable Noir works I've read since the genre-crossing 'The Conjure Man Dies.'

Highly recommended.

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