So, Wandering City Blues is Mr. Lupsha's first attempt at venturing into the world of fiction novels, he has had 3 previous releases (The Broken Paragon, Penny Cavalier and 100,000 years in Detention) not to mention an essay wrote about a visit to Centralia which he was kind enough to allow myself to print on my own personal website (https://mysilenthill.wordpress.com/the-real-life-silent-hill/) which have all been "Geek Non-Fiction" in his words.
I have had the privilege of being given a signed copy of The Broken Paragon, which was a fantastic read, and now have received a signed copy of Wandering City Blues. I received the book with some excitement, not only was it personally signed by Jonny to myself, but it was his first ever fiction novel and I felt proud to have it in my hands and give it the time it deserved in reading.
It was only when I was a few chapters into the book that I was asked to do a full review on the book, and I accepted the challenge (it’s my first ever review). So, here we go.
First, 13 creatures emerged from the ocean, each over 1/4 mile tall. Then came a lethal fog that covered the earth’s surface. A small remnant of mankind built cities on the backs of these beasts and migrated up over the fog forever.
99 years later, Detective Leon Adler and his mysterious new partner Iris investigate a murder case that takes them half way around the world to an extinction-level conspiracy. Can they survive the journey, chasing leads on massive skyscraper-perched birds and colonies of inbred cannibals, or will they succumb to the Wandering City Blues?
Where do I start? Well, firstly the book has taken some inspiration from various other forms of media, for a geek like myself I can spot the elements he has used, but you wouldn't blatantly know. He certainly hasn't taken massive chunks of storylines, settings, ideas and just wrote them down word for word, it’s just the odd thing where you think to yourself 'that sounds slightly familiar, it could actually be a scene from.’
I found the first few chapters fun to read, it was slightly obvious that this was Jonny's first venture into fiction as I personally didn't feel the writing was from a seasoned author of the genre, however, the further into the book I got, the less obvious this became and felt that the more Jonny got into his writing pace, the more he got used to how to write in this style. By the 4th chapter I could have been reading something by a big named author as it started to flow a lot better.
So, the story. Well, I really don't want to give too much away when it comes to it, but as you can see above, the Earth has been hit by a mass blanket of poisonous fog which slowly kills anyone that has been unlucky enough to be caught under its ceiling height. As this fog had descended upon the earth, 13 massive creatures rose from the ocean, mankind sedated the creatures and a few lucky people were allowed to climb upon the creatures backs and start a new life above the deadly fog.
There’s various stories that we encounter along the way, the first chapters for instance is about a character, Sean Bellamy, who makes a mass mistake and we follow his story of punishment, the regrets he feels and what happens when his punishment is over. Jonny has shown understanding in his writing about such personal matters and this comes across so well that I found myself really connecting with the character. Then there’s a twist which I didn’t see coming and our true story really starts to get going.
Not to give too much away, but there is a murder, and the story focuses on the hunt for the killer which really isn't too difficult as they are still in the town built on the beast, however, the tracking down of the killer then leads to a much deeper and wider search for something all together larger and more sinister.
Following our main character, Leon Adler, a detective and also a new 'sidekick' who comes into the story, they track the very few clues they come across to find who is behind the murder, which takes them all over the world and crossing between various colossi to get to where they need.
All in all, I really loved the book. Jonny’s writing style is very easy to follow and you can also tell that there has been a lot of research gone into the writing of this book. For instance, the colossi all have various migratory patterns, which Jonny has actually gone into a lot of detail over after the story has finished and tracked the various beasts over the world and where they may cross paths, all be it with a few days waiting for the next to arrive. You can also find a few different recipes for alcoholic cocktails which were actually created for the story by Kevin Bednarz (a bar owner) and tried out by Jonny. (It must be a very hard life being a writer at times!).
There are also suggestions for various parts of the book as to what music would compliment various scenes, however I must admit that I much prefer to read a book in silence, not that it’s always possible when you have noisy kids running around in the house.
One thing I found very interesting in the book was the use of various languages and also the print of Islamic text which you very rarely see in an English book, not that I could actually read what was wrote, but I'm sure that's again this was researched and was a very welcome addition at the point in which it was used.
To summarise, I have really enjoyed reading this book, and hope that it is the start of a series of books as I feel that they could do very well, and I'm also intrigued as to what is going to happen with the cliff hanger the book is left on. There are a few complaints, firstly as mentioned above was the style of writing at first which really did improve as the book went on. My only other possible complaint was that there were sections where a week passed by and we didn't really find out what had happened at a stop off point other than ' they spent the next few days eating what little rations they had and drinking water', which in a few cases was OK, but there was a couple of times that I wanted to know more about the immediate situation they were in, but I guess this probably would have turned a 340 page book into close to 800 pages. For me, I would have been happy with that, but for others, possibly not, I guess it’s a personal preference.
I still would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in Sci-fi, murder mystery, or is looking for a new book to read in general, Jonny’s jump from Non-Fiction to Fiction has definitely been a success for me. I will give this book a solid 8 out of 10 for the content matter etc and the only thing that is stopping me giving it any more than this is my own personal issues with wanting to know more about certain situations, but believe me, that's a personal thing and not a bad judgement of Jonny’s work here.
I can’t wait for the next instalment. Please Jonny, make it soon!
Links to Jonny's sites:
Andi: Guest Writer