Cover Image: Titanium Noir

Titanium Noir

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When Cal Sounder is summoned to a case, he expects a much nicer part of town. But as soon as he sees the victim, who is seven feet tall and, according to his driver’s license, ninety-one years old, Cal knows Roddy is a Titan, and Titans are Cal’s specialty.

T7 genetic therapy was devised to not only prolong life, but reset the body to perfect health, although at a larger size. And each treatment leaves the individual larger. Only the wealthy can afford T7 therapy and Titans are normally wealthy and of a higher social class. Roddy just looks like a quiet, nerdy guy, who rides his bike to campus. But now he is on the floor with a bullet to the brain, and Cal has been called in to handle the investigation. It is unthinkable for a Titan to be murdered, but Cal now needs to investigate how Roddy ended up murdered in his apartment.

The book is at times intense, at times a little confusing, but the world of the Titans, and those who want to be Titans, is addicting. Following Cal as he carefully treads through a seedy underground of cage fighters, and the wealthy world of the Titans, it was a lot of guessing as to how Cal would handle each interaction. I never knew what decisions Cal would make, so I was constantly guessing his next move.

Thanks to NetGalley for sharing this digital advanced reader copy. This is my honest opinion.
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I am usually firmly ensconced in the Fantasy portion of SFF, but have been trying to dabble a little more in the SciFi portion. I'm also trying to broaden my bookish horizons by reading other genres that I have typically passed over, so when I heard about Nick Harkaway's Titanium Noir, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get a fusion of scifi and crime-noir thriller, and it is what I imagine the perfect combination of those genres being.

Not being that familiar with the noir crime thriller, I did go into this with a particular idea of what that looks like: the brooding private investigator who has just as much experience with the police as he does the local criminal underbelly; the unexplained crime scene that the PI has particular experience in dealing with; the femme fatale; the local mob and associated families; the PI's love interest; and Harkaway hit all of these notes perfectly for me. 

Cal Sounder, who the police reluctantly call on to deal with crimes involving Titans (members of the incredibly wealthy who can afford to buy their version of immortality via a super-drug called T7), is brought in to investigate the murder of a previously unknown Titan. Sounder has unique insight into the elite lifestyle of the Titan's as he once dated one of the members of the main Titan family; as such, he walks a fine line between keeping the Titan's out of the limelight when necessary, and keeping the police happy that they have someone on the "inside".

The mystery is a well-crafted and perfectly paced thrill ride, and the characters are all superbly developed and the world building is spot on. I had a clear idea in my head of what the city looked like, from the grittiest of dive bars to the most opulent of Titan dwellings. 

A fast, entertaining book, Titanium Noir will keep readers engaged with its intriguing, futuristic yet fully believable world and its unique characters. This book will especially appeal to both readers of scifi and noir thrillers, but I think anyone will find this an enjoyable read. 

Thank you to Knopf & NetGalley for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

#NetGalley #TitaniumNoir
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Language: R (14+ swears, 11+ "f"); Mature Content: PG13+; Violence: PG13+
Harkaway obviously spent a lot of time crafting the world for this book. Unfortunately, his descriptive style of writing did not hold my interest. The murder mystery with its special investigator due to the special victim premise was not enough to convince me I needed to read through the crime solving. Furthermore, this book does not fit the interests of my blog's target audience.
The mature content rating is for innuendo. The violence rating is for gun use, mentions of murder and suicide, and gore.
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Titanium Noir
Nick Harkaway
reviewed by Lou Jacobs | Goodreads

Mix Philip K. Dick with Richard K. Morgan, infuse the potion with a little Philip Marlowe, and create Titanium Noir. Hard-boiled detective Nick Sounder, mouthy, brash, yet intuitively smart and keen-eyed for observation, is thrust into the investigation of the murder of Roddy Tebbit.

In this near-future dystopian world, a controversial discovery by magnate Stefan Tonfamesca has made available T7 genetic therapy for the select few—doled out by Stefan at an exorbitant price or the cost of “favors to come.” The therapy not only enhances the strength and size of the body but also turns back the ravages of time on the whole body. The elite recipients attain an almost godlike status. There are only a few thousand Titans worldwide. A murder of a Titan is definitely big news. Roddy Tebbit, a rather nerdy Titan techie, stands well over seven feet tall, and although he is ninety-one years old, looks no more than thirty. Cal Sounder is called in to investigate his murder. The police require a buffer and liaison during this most sensitive matter. He is no stranger to the dark, mean streets and can go where “cops” are not wanted and avoided. His ex-girlfriend and femme fatale is Athena, a Titan herself, and no less, Stefan Tonfamesca’s daughter and heir to his empire.

Picture Humphrey Bogart as Cal Sounder and Lauren Bacall as the lithesome and delectable Athena. Nick Haraway provides a complicated, interweaving plot that reveals both secrets and red herrings, ratcheting up the suspense and intrigue as the snarky Cal gets closer to revealing the twisted motivation and culprits responsible for Roddy’s demise. Hardaway populates his tale with multiple richly characterized actors. It’s truly difficult to discern who the villains and heroes are as this page-turner escalates into a satisfying conclusion. Hardaway nicely infuses tension and intrigue as this crime investigation morphs into a near-future dystopian noir mystery.

Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf/Pantheon Publishing for providing an Uncorrected Proof in exchange for an honest review. Excuse me, while I download some of Hardaway’s earlier oeuvre.
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I thought this was really, really good. Previously I have read three books by this author and my ratings have varied. Titanium Noir: A novel however rates up there with The Gone-Away World at five stars.

Cal Sounder is a detective who is called in to deal with sensitive crimes involving Titans, genetically altered elite members of society. The premise is great, the story exciting and the humour very funny. The author builds a wonderful world of science fiction and crime. (SciFi/crime - my kind of genre.)

I thought it was smart, clever and always interesting. I recommend it if you like your crime dark and your science fiction intriguing.
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A gritty mashup of near future sci-fi and classic hardboiled detective story.  The plot is intricate, twisty, and intriguing, and characters were well-crafted.  The theme of only the elite Titans being able to afford geriatric medical treatment resonates well, and the writing itself is snappy.  Cal Sounder is a great archetypal noir detective, gruff and competent and likeable.  The narrative moves along at a satisfying clip, yet the story is also human and readable.

Two stylistic changes could have improved my reading of this book.  Shorter chapters than the 7 total monoliths in the book would have kept the flow for me.  Long passages of back-and-forth dialog are presented without speaker names or sufficient context clues, making me more focused on tracking who was saying what than what was being said.

A solid read, intriguingly written, that appeals as both a detective story and a dystopian cultural commentary.

Thanks to Nick Harkaway, Knopf Publishing, and NetGalley for the ARC, in return for an honest review.
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I absolutely loved this. It has all the grit, dark humor, and violence of a Raymond Chandler novel of early 1940s Humphrey Bogart noir film, with a Sci-Fi twist to keep it fresh. If you’re a fan of the noir genre, especially the classics, you can’t miss with this novel. The Sci-Fi element was really incidental and just gave a different flavor to the mafia-esque characters, and a little more room for the author to play with the noir tropes. It’s a fast read, well-plotted and executed, and highly entertaining. 

Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an early copy in exchange for my honest review.
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"Sci-fi hard-boiled detective fiction" is such a catnip microgenre for me (see also the Takeshi Kovacs books and <I>Gun, with Occasional Music</I>) and this nails every aspect, with a really interesting sci-fi hook (that nevertheless remains fairly grounded, far more so than the cloned assassins or geoengineered kangaroo henchmen of the other books I named). There's a reason Nick Harkaway is one of my favorite living authors.
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The book’s description sounded really intriguing and I was looking forward to the mix of sci-fi and an old fashioned crime novel. Unfortunately the book just didn’t work for me. I found the author’s writing style dense and hard to get into, and the story jumped around too much.
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The story started a little slow for me, but I powered through and I am so happy I did.  I ended up really liking the story.  It is a blend of noir and science fiction with an interesting premise.  The book is great as a stand-alone and would make an excellent series.  Start reading and keep going, you won’t regret it.  

Thank you to NetGalley, Knopf, and Nick Harkaway for the eARC.
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This is a crime noir sci-fi novel. It some ways in reminded me of Blade Runner. The novel has a very interesting premise where people become "Titans" after injecting a serum that makes them bigger, stronger, and faster. However, the writing style didn't quite fully work for me. It was a bit jarring. Overall, not a bad book by any means. I would recommend to fans of crime noir novels with a science fiction spin!
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Nick Harkaway (IRL Nick Cornwell, the son of the great novelist David Cornwell aka John Le Carré) has written a number of conceptually dense science fiction novels, all of which I have read. He has also written some mystery/thriller novels, which I have not read, under a different pseudonym. This new novel combines the elements of both sorts of books. It's a mystery thriller, told in the first person by a detective protagonist. But the novel is also set in a near-future world, that differs from the one we know.

The novum that differentiates the world of the novel from our reality is the existence of Titans, people who have been given extended life and (in effect) superpowers by treatment with a gene therapy known as T7. The recipients of this treatment are wholly rejuvenated; their bodies in effect revert to adolescence and undergo another growth spurt, resulting in extremely strong bones, repair of all damages due to injury and aging, and an enormous physique. Titans with one treatment are seven or eight feet tall; repeated treatments leave you even larger and stronger. Your lifespan is also extended by decades with each treatment. T7 treatment is both extremely expensive, and in the hands of a monopoly that controls its use. Even if you have the hundreds of millions of dollars needed for treatment, you may not get it if the head of the corporation does not like you.

Cal Sounder, the first-person protagonist of the novel, is hired by the police as a consultant when there are crimes involving Titans. These are fairly uncommon, since the Titans themselves are usually too strong to be crime or murder victims, and since they are also rich enough to buy off anybody who might question them.

Nonetheless, the novel begins with the murder of a Titan, and Cal is called in to solve the case. Everything turns out to hinge -- as one would expect given the genre -- on both massive corruption and nasty family dynamics. Cal himself is not a Titan but he knows them from the inside due to his previous connections (on which I will not elaborate, because this would entail spoilers). I will just say that the central metaphor/novum of Titans works really well, because it literalizes, in physical form, how rich and powerful people are for the most part exempt from all the rules, norms, and necessities that the rest of us are subject to. In the course of his investigation, Cal is exposed to multiple perspectives on the situation, ranging all the way from an overtly marxist critique to the 'cynical reason' that is used to justify the actually-existing system.

The novel is pessimistic about the possibilities of social reform, but it gives us a satisfying more or less happy ending for the detective himself. The plotting is intricate and very well done. The most interesting sections are the ones that explore the sleaze and nastiness in which Titans, unlike ordinary people, are able and willing to indulge. Being rich and powerful allows people to get away with a lot, and the ugliest sides of human nature are thereby enacted right in the open. The most memorable character in the book is one in whom the T7 treatment has gone wrong; so that instead of joining the elite, he instead becomes a vicious crime lord. He is more entertainingly twisted than the regular Titans, but in fact no more depraved than they all are.
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Titanium Noir by Nick Harkaway is a superb read with a superb plot and characters Well worth the time and recommended!
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A fusion of sci-fi-fantasy and crime noir. Detective Cal Sounder works with the police as a special investigator and is called to the scene of a 'socio-medical crime,' the murder of a Titan named Roddy Tebbit. Titans are regular humans who have received at least one infusion of Titanium 7, which is a treatment that stimulates rejuvenation of the body. Only the rich can afford it and it's sort of the fountain of youth people have been searching for for millennia. In the process of this rejuvenation, Titans also grow much taller and stronger, hence the name they've been given, like they are some kind of gods. The victim, Roddy, is at least 7 foot tall. 

The story is a little hard to get into at first, something to do with the writing style which seems a bit confusing, like looking through a foggy mirror. Cal has a history with Titans, being madly in love with one named Athena whose family owns the drug business, so part of the early difficulty is figuring out these past relationships and what they have to do with the crime at hand. And who is now trying to stop Cal from investigating. 

But I did get into it eventually and liked Cal as a lead character, a guy who is smart and resilient, so I hope this is the start of a series. It's a strange new world. 

I received an arc of this novel from the author and publisher via NetGalley. Many thanks for the opportunity. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.
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Let me start this by saying I'm not a fan of detective series. I think they're one in the same for the most part. However, I will RIOT if Harkaway doesn't make Cal a regular feature in his upcoming releases. I NEED another run in with Cal and Doublewide.

Titanium Noir is a crime noir novel with a sci-fi twist - the elite now have access to a drug, T7, that can renew their youth. One of the side effects involves overall growth in the human. Overtime, this results in some massive billionaires known as Titans. What happens when Titans are murdered? Cal, not a Titan himself, comes in to investigate. It just so happens today's case is surrounding Roddy - a Titan who chose to lead a quiet life, and thanks to his one-dose status and quiet demeanor, his size isn't large enough to flag him as a Titan to the general public. So why is Roddy dead?
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Nice cross between crime fiction and noir.  Great characters and well told story.  Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book
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I really enjoyed this sci/fi meets detective noir novel from Nick Harkaway. Enjoyable and intriguing characters, a well paced plot, and some unexpected twists. Although all loose threads were wrapped up, I wouldn't mind if this turned into a series. Highly recommended

Thanks to NetGalley and Knopf for an advanced reader copy.
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The newest Nick Harkaway book finds a detective investigating the murder of a titan - seven feet tall, and 91 years old while looking only 40. Cal knows about this world, having dated a titan before. However, as he investigates, he soon realizes there might be more to this case than it seemed at first. 

I’ve found with Harkaway that you either love the concept or don’t vibe with it because they are so unique. This wasn’t my favorite. Loved the concept, but just didn’t get in with the protagonist.
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Future times!

Hard nosed detective Cal Sounder investigates the murder of a Titan, a genetically modified elite.
Set in a dystopian futuristic world there’s more here than meets the eye, as Cal finds out.
Cal is a Titan specialist, a consultant to the police in these types of cases.
T7 injections turn ordinary humans into super beings. It’s incredibly expensive, highly desirable. It can save one from all sorts of physical challenges but your intellect doesn’t improve. Maybe that’s offset by living a few hundred years. Maybe?!
Learning to live with a body that’s been extended is no joke. Some (not many) have had several T shots over time—a long time.
The tone is set in the first few opening lines, in the sparse, take no prisoners, non conversation between Cal and the Captain as they head towards the crime scene.
A crime that will lead Cal back through the victim’s history as it intersects with others, and ultimately his own. There’s some delightful lines in the way of detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) of the Maltese Falcon fame.
“ Murder rooms are like train stations at midnight, not much left to do before the last departure.”
I must say I enjoyed every moment of Titanium Noir—it’s very noir, hard edged, smart and at times tragic.

A Knopf ARC via NetGalley.                                              
Many thanks to the author and publisher.
Please note: Quotes taken from an advanced reading copy maybe subject to change
(Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.)
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An amazing noir take on what it means to be human and the power of loss and memory. Think Memento meets The Maltese Falcon just not too heavy on the noir. 

Nick Harkaway has written a great book about post-humans and it is an incredibly accessible book unlike Gnomon which had a lot of promise but failed to execute. Some might not like that it's not particularly deep but it is an enjoyable and quick read. Highly recommended for a beach read or a long flight.
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