9Tail Fox Paperback – 15 May 2007
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An escapist romp on the wild side with literary ambitions that it goes a long way towards fulfilling. Imagine a script for the Outer Limits rewritten for the wide screen and you're not far off the mark. Compelling entertainment. (Peter Millar THE TIMES)
Literary, cleverly constructed, fast-moving and, maybe most importantly, a
novel with real soul and warmth beneath its hipper-than-thou sheen. Even by his standards this is audacious - and brilliantly realised. (SFX)
A bizzarre, but appealing, mix of detective novel, gothic SF and Chinese mythology. Compellingly written and full of twists and turns. (Dave Golder BBC Focus)
Grimwood is an experienced and skilfull hand when it comes to making the impossible seem plausible, and above all he is a fine storyteller who makes you want to keep turning the pages of this original and entertaining novel. (Susanna Yager SUNDAY TELEGRAPH)
San Francisco cop Bobby Zha has a big problem - he's dead. Reincarnated in another man's body, Bobby sets out to solve his own murder; and like TV's Lost, the more we learn about his previous life, the more intriguing and gripping it gets. Part sexy love story, part hard-edged crime thriller, this is a brilliant and original page-turner. (Cosmopoiltan)
Teases us constantly about what genre it belongs to. Grimwood is always ingenious and here he moves into the entertainingly wilfull. (Roz Kaveney TIME OUT)
"Jon Courtenay Grimwood has a knack of pulling readers into his worlds. You should all go add it to your bookshelves." 5/5 (Heather Worthy Starburst)
Fusing modern crime noir, with science fiction and a soupcon of Chinese mythology, Jon Courtenay Grimwood drags us headlong into the seedy world of Bobby Zha. There is much to enjoy here, in particular Grimwood's descriptive prose. Grimwood invests his hero with enough emotional layers to take on a life of his own. (Christopher Prince DREAMWATCH)
This futuristic thriller is a great read. (CRIME CONFIDENTIAL)
'Is the book SF or fantasy? Who cares. It's good! (Charles Brown LOCUS)
'Whether they shelve this with mysteries, with horror, with his other SF novels or with the literary likes of David Mitchell, comb the shelves and seek it out. (Rick Kleffel TRASHOTRON)
There are no pulled punches in 9tail Fox. Grimwood has all the grittiness and local color of Richard Paul Russo¿s excellent Carlucci series, but with the SF content toned down enough to sell to a much wider market. This book might just break him as big as Richard Morgan, movie deal included. (Cheryl Morgan EMERALD CITY)
It's a mark of the flexibility of the term sci-fi that it can be used to encompass the work of Jon Courtenay Grimwood.Neither science or even technology are foundational to his writing. Instead, it's the gritty underworld of cop noir mixed with conspiracy theories concerning spooks whose existence is never officially confirmed which make his bedfellows: well, it's the case with 9Tail Fox, A San Franciso-set ressurection-whydunnit with some eastern mysticism thrown in for good measure. (EDGE)
Among Grimwood's novels Fox is surely the one that most loudly demands to be filmed. Fox is a tremendous read, which seemed to pass in no time at all. Grimwood just keeps working his way up my list of favourite authors. (John Toon INFINITY PLUS)
Grimwood's is a distinct imagination, and his muscular, lucid and polished prose brings it beautifully to the page. (Daily Telegraph) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The extraordinary new novel from one of this or any genre's most talented writers - cutting edge genre writing with an impeccable critical track record. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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(A brief summary, as there's none currently entered)
Bobby Zha was a streetwise San Fransisco cop. Not a stellar one, but he had a few redeeming qualities. Then someone killed him and set him up to look like a crooked cop, indeed, and it seems no-one's following up on the case. And he wants to know why. Why he was killed, why he's still alive but wearing the face of another man, and why the nine-tailed celestial fox keeps appearing to him. In a world set slightly in the future where coincidence is an illusion, the supernatural hovers on the periphery of one's gaze and everyone carries secrets, Bobby has to piece together the shattered mirror of his own life and his last few days as Bobby Zha before his second chance runs out of time.
The setting of this book in a more or less real contemporary USA is a deviation from his norm. As such, I was a little unsure about buying it. Despite a mythological nine-tailed fox and a sort of reincarnation, the book is firmly positioned as a crime thriller. Somehow Grimwood makes the mystical element sit comfortably in this genre by almost taking it for granted rather than making a big point of it.
As always, his characters are richly and sympathetically drawn. We are never given a heavy-handed complete explanation of any of them. Instead, as in real life, we are left to form our own opinions of them from a patchwork of exposure to their actions and coversations.
Thank you, Mr Grimwood, for another riveting tale.
The story is set over a period of five weeks, San Franciscan Sergeant Bobby Zha is a wildcard detective recognised for his unconventional yet successful methods, alienated from his wife and daughter and living a life that he doesn't much care about. When he is killed in a bloody attack he wakes up in the body of a coma patient.
The story follows Bobby Zha's efforts to establish what happened, who murdered him and most importantly why his murder has so quickly been forgotten and that all of his former colleagues now believe he was crooked. What unfolds is a story of fact gathering as he slowly pieces together the details of his murder and the events surrounding it, culminating in an energetic ending where all of the pieces of the puzzle finally come together.
As has been mentioned by another reviewer, I could not put the book down and have read it cover to cover in the space of a week. The writing style is very accessible and not to heavy, something that can always be a risk when mixing fantasy with crime. However I have not given 9Tail Fox the coveted five stars as I felt that the ending was rather too rapid to give the story its due.
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