C.'s Reviews > Rag & Bone

Rag & Bone by J.S. Cook
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's review
Mar 24, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: mystery, fantasy

The Inspector Raft series is more than a series of mystery novels; it's a deft experiment in postmodernism, expertly executed, and so slyly tongue-in-cheek that one could easily read them as m/m detective fiction without noticing the cultural crossovers. J. S. Cook has used her characters to make a series of knowing nods towards our all-persuasive pop culture icons, all the while grounding them in a gritty, extensively-researched historical setting. The result is intriguing: characters carry a sense of familiarity, but take on an entirely new life in this new setting. Enjoyable simply for the stories, but if you don't appreciate the layers of pastiche as well I think you'd be missing some of the joys of intertextuality this series provides.

As well, in another wry twist on postmodern sensibilities, Cook has actually used her own former detective series (the Inspector Devlin books) in the creation of these new books, deconstructing and reconstructing them in a way that foregrounds the series as fiction by drawing attention to the artificiality of constructing texts--once you recognize the characters as re-embodiments, you temporarily sacrifice the "immersive" aspect of the books for a moment of sheer glee at figuring out what she's done.

Again: I'm sure these could be enjoyed simply as m/m mysteries. But they can be better appreciated if you approach them with a sense of the author at play, and join in the game.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Maureen (new)

Maureen Beaumont I never considered the post-modernist sensibility in Cook's work but now I am thinking maybe I should have. Thanks!

Linda-Grace shame no other books in the series have followed. gutted as they way it ended.

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