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Review 1: 'Bad Monkeys' by Matt Ruff

Reassurance: I'm very spoiler-averse, so this should be safe to read even if you are too.

Synopsis: Jane has been arrested for murder. In a series of interviews with a psychologist, she explains that she's a 'Bad Monkey', part of a vigilante group dedicated to covertly killing evil-doers who would otherwise escape justice. Her interviewer tries to keep up and decide what to believe as she reveals more and more about this group, its missions and its enemies, and her story just keeps getting darker and stranger...

Review: This book moved fast and dragged me along with it. Halfway through I was thinking "Shit, I'm halfway through. I wish this was longer, or part of a series or something." In retrospect it was exactly the right length, but that response reflects how entertaining the book was, both in premise and in execution. If the set-up put you in mind of a smart modern thriller film like 'The Usual Suspects' or 'Fight Club', you're thinking along the right lines. It's visual, vivid, atmospheric and action-packed, and just keeps intensifying as it builds to its climax. Sure, you might find yourself looking back on it all with a slightly dazed suspicion that the speed was used to dodge questions or jump plot holes, but it was bloody good fun while it lasted.

Suggested pull quotes for the next edition:

This monkey's gone to heaven!
or
Like 'Wanted', but not shit!


Illustrative excerpt from Amazon reviews:
* * * * *
...it is a clever piece of science fiction writing, for reasons that will become obvious all too soon to a discerning reader. However, I suspect that most will miss these reasons, and conclude erroneously that Ruff has written just a brilliant, exceptionally well-crafted, psychological thriller.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
celestialweasel
Nov. 3rd, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
Have you read Sewer, Gas and Electric which I thought was much better and was genuinely brilliant?
oxfordhacker
Nov. 4th, 2008 09:08 am (UTC)
I have indeed read and enjoyed it, though it was a while ago. It put me in mind of the Illuminati Trilogy, as I recall. To my mind, his best is the first one that I read: Set This House In Order.
celestialweasel
Nov. 4th, 2008 10:44 am (UTC)
Will give it a go.
Yes, thought it was kind of an Illuminati for the zeros. As is often the way with SF, I think the Illuminati Trilogy has dated quite badly (though can of course be read as a period piece).
spectralbovine
Nov. 4th, 2008 01:04 am (UTC)
I've never heard of this book, but it sounds really interesting! Thanks for the rec.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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