Early on in New York Nights
, Hal Halliday, private investigator in the crumbling New York of 2040, turns to his partner Barney who is sitting in their seedy office "with his outstretched legs lodged on the desk, a mug of coffee balanced on his belly, the smouldering butt of a fat cigar pegged into the side of his mouth." Hal tells him he should give up the cigars for his health, but Barney replies: "part of the clichéd image, Hal. What kind of private Dick would I be without my cheap stogie?" In a nutshell, there you have Eric Brown's new novel. It inhabits the clichés of the SF-noir futuristic-gumshoe novel with an unusual thoroughness: gritty urban milieu, worn-down hero, mysterious deaths, shady corporations, a Secret that somebody is prepared to kill for, chases, fights, automatic pistols and all the rest. But in the process it reminds you why these things became clichés in the first place. They work. The plot bucks you about like a rodeo bronco and you are as loathe to let go; Brown orchestrates his surprises and revelations with a spare economy; his characters are basic but workable, his prose gets the job done.
Hal and Barney are investigating the disappearance of a beautiful Virtual Reality designer, and the plot shifts from reality to computer simulation. British authors today seem endlessly fascinated with this premise (as in Chris Priest's The Extremes or Roger Levy's Reckless Sleep), presumably because it allows them to explore the process of imaginative escape that is the point of SF in the first place. Brown has his own twist on the premise, and he ties up all his loose ends neatly--surprisingly so, in fact, given that this is just the first part in a trilogy. --Adam Roberts author of Salt
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The major work that the SF community have been waiting for from one of its most enduringly popular short story writers.