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9Tail Fox

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  508 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Bobby Zha is a Sergeant in the San Francisco Police Department. His years on the force have made him numb to the world, and the people around him, including his wife and daughter.

His sudden and unexplained murder leaves his family reeling, and the SFPD bewildered. But nobody is more bewildered then Sergeant Zha, when a nine-tailed celestial fox comes to him at the moment
Paperback, 280 pages
Published May 1st 2007 by Night Shade (first published October 20th 2005)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  508 ratings  ·  39 reviews

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Ashleigh Motbey
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
I can't say I enjoyed this very much at all. I know they say that it's good for characters to have flaws, but I felt Bobby was full of flaws that made him completely unlikable. The only quality he had was that he loved his daughter.

I found this very hard to get through and although quite an interesting plot line, I didn't think it was written all that well. It was hard to follow with all the POV changes and I didn't find any of the characters all that likable.

So much more could have been done wi
Catherine Mommsen Scott
Nov 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
There is something about this book that is undefinable. I can't tell you why I like it as much as I do. I'm not easy to please and this book gets four stars because I've only read it once. I've read my five star books several imes and they hold up. What I can say is that I can't seem to stop thinking about Bobby Zha. It is a very well crafted story that drew me in from page one and held me in thrall to the very end.

I'd be interested it communicating with others who have read this book and found
Detective investigates his own murder in near-future San Francisco. Been a while since I read any JCG, and I really enjoyed this.
Lasairfiona Smith
Jan 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
I want so much to like this book. The idea of a dead man waking up in another body to try and solve his own murder intrigues me but it took some serious masochism to finish the book. It could go the mythical route (a 9 tailed celestial fox shows the chinese mythos) or even an almost sci fi route (surgery?) to keep my interest. Unfortunately, this book goes nowhere. The main character, Zha, has the makings of a well rounded little sh*t whose flaws outweigh his plusses who just might try to make i ...more
Jan 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: sf residents
Sort of disposeable, read-it-in-a-day supernatural detective techno thriller.

In a near-future San Francisco, Detective Sergeant Bobby Zha is killed investigating a break-in in Chinatown. He awakes in the body of a white man who's been in a coma ward in NYC for 20 years. Luckily, the body he's wearing is the heir to a sizable settlement over the car crash that left it comatose, so Bobby zips back to SF to investigate his death. Police corruption and brain-swapping technothriller hijinks ensue.

Nicholas Whyte[return][return]I very much enjoyed Grimwood's Ashraf Bey trilogy, though was a little less convinced by either his earlier redRobe or his more recent Stamping Butterflies. I'm glad to report (IMHO) a return to form. Like the Ashraf Bey trilogy this is essentially a police procedural in a somewhat alternative history version of a famous port city with distint sfnal overtones to do with technological brain enhancements. (So we have identified what he does wel ...more
Isabel (kittiwake)
The fox was pure white and carried its tail high and curled like flame over its back. Its eyes were red as coals, fierce with anger. White canines showed on either side of its mouth.
'Jinwei hu,' said Bobby.
The fox nodded, even though Bobby had only said the name in his head. Somewhere on Grant Avenue a kid let off a string of firecrackers left over from the night before and the fox grinned.

Although both books have a police detective as a main character, "9tail Fox" is completely different from t
Apr 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I adored the Arabesk series (start with Pashazade!), so when I was wandering through the SF section and saw this novel, I grabbed it.

(I had forgotten he wrote another book I didn't like as much, I only noticed when I looked for the name of that book just now. Hunh.)

Anyway. This was wonderful - sort of a supernatural detective story, set in alternate San Francisco. (About which I know very little, so if there were geographical problems, I would never have known.) Has the sort of frenetic feel of
Oct 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
Cool idea, but kind of a mess in the execution. Dead cop must solve his own murder. It's kind of noir-ish, which I enjoy, but the plot is convoluted even by noir detective standards, and, in the end, I didn't feel like it all made much sense. Annoyance: our main character is supposed to be kind of a jerk, but he's always having sex and then making sure to tell us that he "smells her on his fingers." Not sure what the author was aiming at here, but it comes across as frat boyish. Major distractio ...more
Nov 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book vastly- however, I enjoyed it for reasons that may not have an appeal for everybody else under the sun.
#1: I find Chinese religion and cosmology a fascinating thing to poke around at.
#2: I live in the city where it is set, and know the area of town that it takes place in quite well.
#3: I have a great weakness for foxes.

These three things- which I found the book to be full of (and well-written about)- are things which wouldn't necessarily appeal to anyone else. As a result, I
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the pace and POV of this book. I will definitely read more of this author.

The sci-fi elements of this book were almost too subtle to call it sci-fi; it also carried elements of what I would typically call fantasy. Yet combined as they were, it was a very satisfying, interesting story. I appreciate the ease with which Jon Grimwood crosses the boundaries of the genres; nothing awkward there.

I am going to with-hold my judgements of gender-based stereo-types for this first book I'
Jan 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a police procedural with a sf/fantasy premise -- San Francisco Sargeant Bobby Zha is killed yet returns as another man to solve the crime. I couldn't follow the story very well and I knew that there were major holes in it. On the other hand, I raced through the novel to see what happened to several sympathetic characters -- Bobby Zha, his daughter Kris, and Officer Felicidad Valdez. Grimwood's writing is stylish in a good way and he uses San Francisco well. One amusing aspect of the book ...more
Jul 03, 2009 rated it liked it
The promise of crime noir and Chinese folk magic drew me in. The core premise was interesting enough (a hard-boiled SF detective wakes up in someone else's body and sets out to solve his own murder), but I sometimes felt that some of the interesting SF/fantastic premises throughout the story were sometimes forced and the various threads were not tied together at the end as neatly as the reader might expect. That said, the core detective thriller was solid and the gritty Chinatown setting well de ...more
Jul 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
9TAIL FOX eschews most of the cyberpunk trappings of Grimwood’s earlier works, going for a hardcore detective noir feel with Chinese mystical underpinnings. The novel revolves around San Francisco vice cop Bobby Zha, a less-than-perfect guy who gets killed in the book’s opening. Mysterious (or possibly mystical) forces intervene, and Zha is given a chance to find out what the hell is going on – and maybe find a bit of personal redemption in the process.

Daisy Gould
I found it quite hard to follow, however, that may be because I am not really used to the genre. Although I found some of the characters quite interesting, particularly the homeless bunch, I found that it kind of fell a little flat. It started out well but as I continued to read it lead me to disappointment. Some of the concepts were shocking and the underlying idea was very imaginative, but it did not appear to have been completely thought out and the final explanation that tied everything toge ...more
Mar 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Katherine by: Paula
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Neil Pearson
Aug 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
A little bit underwhelming. The writing was very nice and the characters interesting but the mystery was a bit of a let down and generally a bit sparse. The first death scene was very well written and there was a beautiful bittersweet parargraph concerning a yard-dog that highlighted Grimwood's gift with words. I think the best analogy for this book is that it felt like a good tv episode, not a great film.
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, scifi
Excellent premise with a flagging execution. I could not for the life of me figure out how Zha knew that investigating multiple seemingly-unrelated mysteries would not only solve his murder but bring everyone suddenly to justice. Not bad, but for those who like unusual mysteries, I would recommend Mieville's The City and the City instead.
Oct 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
So wow, that was really good for a book picked solely on the colour if it's cover. ("What should I read next?" "I don't know, something red.") Supernatural noir set in an alternate San Francisco. Everything has a seedy underbelly. We'll call this 4.5 stars though, because the immersion broke every time a British word choice was thrown into this American setting.
Jun 10, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
San Francisco police officer Bobby Zha is murdered, and then wakes up in somebody else's body. He has to solve his own murder, and try to make up for some of the mistakes he made in his life. A gripping and well-written thriller with a not-entirely-likeable protagonist.
Aug 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, fiction, mystery
This book was not what they're selling you on the back cover. But I was very glad the book was better than I expected - very engaging. I particularly liked that the author doesn't waste time explaining how impossible things happen - that's such a good mental jumping-off point.
Clifford Terry
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Jon Courtenay Grimwood mixes genres blending a Hammett-style noir with Chinese mysticism and historical elements. With his intricate plots and engaging characters, after reading two of his books he is fast becoming one of my favourite writers.
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was ok
Honestly i thought it was Meh. I had an issue with the ending rear ended by the climax. I found the story and world to be interesting. It was one of very few mystery novels that I was able to finish. Personally I rate it 2.5 of 5. I may recommend to a limited group.
I wanted to like this but actually I didn't care by the end about any of the characters.

The premise is interesting, a cop investigating his own death with some supernatural overtones but what it delivered was a rambling text with largely forgettable characters.

Your mileage may vary.
Oana-Maria Uliu
Feb 15, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It doesn't make much sense. I was curious to see what was going to happen, but I didn't buy any of it. A hot mess of unbelievable elements. And I'm not talking about the fox. At least it has an adequate ending.
Jacque wong
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it
Detective in SF solves his own murder... after he dies. good read!
Terry Martin
Jul 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An almost mainstream story from JCG . . . but not quite. This would make a good film. A detective wakes up in the body of someone else and sets out to find his killer.
Oct 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
I liked this book, but it didn't quite do it. Good beginning, OK end, but it got totally lost in the middle.

Nice writing, though.
Aug 24, 2010 marked it as abandoned
It was interesting, just not keeping me as entertained as my other books... so I decided to move on.
Aug 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This was an enjoyable read, but I'm not sure I understood the overall point. As in: why was the protagonist chosen to be "resurrected?" I'm not so sure "solving his own murder" was really the answer?
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'Tough, sexy and brutal, but leavened with sharp humour... Grimwood is a name to watch.' The Times

Jon Courtenay Grimwood was born in Malta and christened in the upturned bell of a ship. He grew up in the Far East, Britain and Scandinavia. Apart from novels he writes for magazines and newspapers. He travels extensively and undertakes a certain amount of consulting. Until recently he wrote a monthly

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