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The Dark Manual Kindle Edition
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Dark Manual 'can be read as a noir thriller, or a piece of speculative science fiction, and fans of those
genres will not be disappointed as the story unfolds and eventually reaches its spectacular climax..
Those interested in a thought provoking literary novel expressed in beautiful, often poetic, prose will
certainly be caught up in the story of Suzie Sakamoto and her sudden slide into a non-stop nightmare
of grief and despair.
Suzie, an Irish expatriate married to a Japanese tech genius, has just lost her husband and eight
year old son in a plane crash. With nothing left to live for she's holed up in the gadget filled family home
contemplating suicide. Her only companion is an increasingly troublesome house cleaning robot that was
designed and programmed by her husband.
Although Suzie seldom goes outside she senses trouble in the neighborhood; owls are inexplicably arriving and hiding in the shrubbery. Also troubling, is the shadow of a tall man reflected in the window of an apartment across the street. The tall shadow seems to be observing her.
One night Suzie decides to escape her high tech prison and heads out to a seedy sports bar. As she walks through the rain to the bar she's aware of owls hiding in the trees and wonders if they will attack her.. At the bar she meets the fabulous, Mixxy, an unapologetic thrill seeker who is always ready for another drink, a snort of coke, and a bit of sex. She's an unlikely companion for the doom ridden Suzie, but they have more in common than they realize. When these two join forces questions are answered, evil plots are revealed, and miracles happen..
Highly recommended. This book could become a classic.
Isaac Asinov had Three Laws of Robotics. 1. A robot may not injure a human being, or through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. 2. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. 3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.
Asinov's laws are sourly tested in Colin O'Sullivan's new novel, The Dark Manual. The author, Winner of the Prix Mystere de la 2018, just gets better with each book, and with this, his third, he is becoming one of the finest storytellers out there. His prose keeps one glued to the page, with delightful concentration.
Colin O'Sullivan does not write a bad line. His characters become a part of the reader as they turn the pages, and they dwell in the mind between reads. I found myself setting the book down, two or three times, but not able to leave it until I picked it up again, and read some more. Colin O'Sullivan's writing style reminds me so of jazz, with it's one word, then two word, then three word sentences. Bop, bop, bop-bop, until you realize you have read a paragraph, then on to a new riff. Lyrical, powerful, humorous, poetic, emotional. He is a lyrical master of the written word. There are sections of the book that are heartbreaking, in their emotional and physical sense of loss, and moments of humor, surprise, suspense, pure sudden horror, and stark naked joy.
Susie Sakamoto, came from Ireland, to live in Japan with her husband, Masa, who designed and built “Homebots,” domestic home robots. There primary role, to clean the home, cook, make drinks, tend to the owner, and stand still in the corner when turned off for the night. With their little boy, Zen they have a happy life, until one day when Susie bids goodbye to her son and husband at the airport, where they are setting off on a trip to South Korea. A trip that becomes tragic when a errant missile launched from North Korea causes the plane they are on to break apart, pieces, and bodies of those on board falling into the sea. Her dear husband and darling son, suddenly gone. There bodies never recovered.
Susie now spends her days in a deep depression, going over the what ifs; coming to hate the homebot, that lives with her, and staying drunk most of the time. Appearing at work, where she is a reporter occasionally, but contemplating suicide, and spending nights in a bar getting wasted and mourning the tremendous loss she has suffered. A drunken Irishwoman in Japan, with little reason to get up in the morning, except to order the home robot to bring her another drink, while outside in the trees, the owls are gathering, as if something is amiss.
At the bar she hangs out at each night, Susie becomes somewhat friendly with the ultra free spirit and flamboyant Mixxy Makanea, a Japanese woman who speaks English, and pretty much does what she wants, when she wants, and with whomever she wants. When Mixxy struts into a bar, all heads turn. Green streaked hair, fishnet stockings, glossy lips, and just a touch of white powder under her nostrils, she is ready to steal the evening. Mizzy is one of the great characters from the author. With her flash, flamboyancy, and pizzazz she colors the novel with her profane antics, and so what attitude. Mixxy also feels the presence of the owls. Knows they are in the trees. Watching.
Susie continues to struggled with whether to live or die, and blacken it all out once and for all. Her anguish palpable. Her loss profound. Her hatred for the annoying domestic robot growing each day. Then she begins to hear about a Dark Manual a legendary means to shut off all the machines, that might or might not be. Susie starts thinking about if she could find it, she could shut the damn thing off. Shut them all off. If she could get Mixxy to help her, could they find it? Did her husband write it? Is it nearby?
Meanwhile the homebot waits. All the hombots wait. Lights flashing on and off. Eerie sounds emitting from where there mouth would be. Do they come into the bedroom at night to watch the sleeper? Are they capable of harm? If Susie and Mixxy find the Dark Manual, will the machines know, and try to stop them from shutting them down? Can they think? Can they communicate with other hombots? Can they cause harm?
Worst of all, can they kill?
While outside more owls gather in the trees, and now also, the crows. They too gather and caw in the trees and rooftops. More and more of them. Watching. Waiting.