The Big Sheep by Robert Kroese
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thank goes to Netgalley!
Perhaps I should say double-thanks? The novel more than lived up to all expectations and perhaps a great deal more. In fact, from the outset, I didn't really get the sense of a lot of promise. It seemed to be a pretty standard Private-Eye (sorry, Phenomenological Inquisitor) with a pretty heavy SF bent, full of light humor and quirky intent.
What it became, after a while, was anything but standard and anything but simple. In fact, even being a long-time reader of both genres, I thought I had things pretty well figured out by page 30, revise - page 80, revise - page 120, revise - oh hell... it did SEEM to lead me to the right, even cool conclusion! But no, I was reliably and enthusiastically proven wrong.
Can I tell you want a delight this is? It gets even better, too! The writing is crisp and it knows what it's about. Strong voice, clear plot developments, interesting characters, and tons of truly interesting twists that made great use of both mystery standards AND a couple of armloads of beautiful SF tropes while never feeling stale.
Indeed, I came out of this read feeling as if the one initial promise, that this was some sort of PKD successor, was entirely on the mark. It took a while to realize it, from a straight textual progression, but the entire novel, taken together, IS absolutely worthy.
I might even say that it's a better read than PKD, if I were to be so heretical. It's not quite as philosophical or religious, but it certainly has the bat-s*** crazy down. :)
The only thing that it took a bit to get used to was the humor. I just didn't think the banter was all that funny at first, but it did grow on me as the complexity of the tale grew.
Hell, I think the really funny jokes are all plot-driven, not limited to a line-by-line hit parade.
If you are looking for something with a lot of panache and crazy cool happenings in a great one-to-one genre mashup of Mystery/SF that leaves you feeling refreshed and elated, then by all means, GO GET THIS BOOK. :)
You cannot imagine how many spoilers I wanted to give away. There were SO many great scenes to discuss and laugh about, with tons of in-jokes I could be sharing with you... right this instant.
This is so aggravating. :)
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