Crooked By Richard Pett
Broken Eye Books have not replied to my pleas for a sequel to this book to show up in my inbox. I imagine them sitting back, the maniacal sneer of a dealer eyeing their junkie of a client upon their faces.
This is a gruesome book; both the city and its residents, and the things they do to each other. But there is a glimmer of a hope, a worm that wiggles free each time you clutch at the dirt, just out of reach. You know it’s there, but damned if you can hold on to it. And yet, the lead characters in this book never give up. There is so much strength in them: strength of spirit, of mind, of determination. Several times I stopped to check my progress, thinking surely this must end soon, what more can these people survive? And each time they dug deeper and struggled on. And I loved them all the more. There is love in this book as well, but it is love lost, and mature love. No fawning teenagers here, but adults finding each other amongst the terrible world they live in, a world where death is not necessarily the end.
There is so much character and world building in this book, in the first chapter even, but not once did it feel like exposition, or that the character was stopping to explain anything to the reader. It flowed naturally, and it took very little time to come to know Brine and the nature of the city.
The book is broken into three sections, and each of these starts with, quite literally, a bird’s eye view. Then you’re deep into the action, adventure, and mystery of the story. Jared is the first character we are introduced to, but the story is not limited to his events. Klesh, his good (but dead) friend, is soon introduced, and the author shows us much of what is happening elsewhere in the foul city.
The concept of the Between, another world (full of nightmares) that can be connected to the world of Brine through reflections, is one that fascinates me. I hope there will be more exploration of it in future books. I could go on for hours about the interesting world, but it is far better you experience it for yourself.
There is a kickstarter ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1557256029/crooked-and-other-oddities-from-broken-eye-books ) right now that ends September 5th 2013 to fund the release of Crooked and a pile of other awesome literature, including an expanded The Hole Behind Midnight (which I reviewed here with much love: https://www.mirintala.com/2013/06/18/the-hole-behind-midnight-by-clinton-boomer/