China Mieville meets Dashiell Hammett in this incredible interdimensional thriller!
The universe is made of string. When the knots tighten, the Cosmos quakes.
It's a tough job being a gumshoe in an inter-dimensional city full of gods, living concepts and weirder things. Good thing I'm a stringwalker, able to jump between realities.
It started when I was hired to investigate an explosion at a casino. A simple heist, I thought, but it turned into a race to stop the apocalypse. So I rolled the dice, and now I'm up against the ancient Greek Titans, an interdimensional spider god and a mysterious creature known as the Fool.
I'm going to need more than just luck to solve this one. If I fail, all things—in all realities—could be destroyed.
Just another day in String City.
"String city is balls to the wall insanity...it is so crazy that it should not work. But it does." ~ Robert Goodman
"I LOVE the world-building for this book...the sheer scope of ambition is impressive." ~ Sunyi Dean
"...engaging and fascinating," ~ Anna Maria Giacomasso
Average rating from 45 members
It is rare that you find a book with an unnamed central character. In String City, the protagonist gets away with being referred to as gumshoe or by nothing at all. Fans of old school private eye novels should feel right at home with String City. Gumshoe addresses ladies as dames or honies and has a wry and world weary outlook on his lot in life. Although there are sci-fi elements throughout the book, the relationship between gumshoe and his assistant Zephyr, had me in mind of the wonderful Louie Knight Detective series set in Aberystwyth. His partner Calamity was always eager to prove herself, just as Zephyr is. Aside from having his willing assistant, gumshoe is aided by a robot and, at times, a scarab beetle with a sideline in book keeping. Of all the various gadgets and alternative dimensions deployed and explored, the most impressive piece of kit has to be gumshoe’s coat. The old rule about only being able to fold a piece of paper a maximum of seven times does not hold true for gumshoe’s coat. Boy, if I could get my hands on one of them....... The story itself kicks off with a tremendous explosion at a casino. It soon becomes apparent to gumshoe that far bigger issues are at play here and the subsequent investigation is taken in myriad directions. With so many threads involved, the story and the tension dips a little in the middle but the closing quarter of the book wraps matters up expertly and with lashings of pathos and guile. Some of the lines assigned to The Pennyman are just immaculate and cut through the silk threads that abound in this tale. A fusion of genres that not only works but sets a high bar for both detective crime fiction and sci-fi alike.
A detective noir/cyberpunk/magic/mythic mashup novel - Graham Edwards is a brilliant writer. So impressed by the "just right" touch he has with the various elements, never over-explaining but expecting the reader to keep up. His inventions and combinations are convincing, and the mix of plot and description perfect. Only let down is the stylized private investigator dialogue and 2d romantic interactions. Having read alot of noir/sci-fi books this is the best of the lot for a long time. Look forward to reading more Edwards, will explore his back cases...
String City stakes a claim for one of the strangest hard boiled detective stories to grace the genre. It is set in String City, a place where all of the multiverses held together by cosmic string come together. It is a place where mythological creatures rub shoulders with fictional creations and a smattering of the real world. As the gumshoe narrator succinctly puts it: String City is where the cosmic string gets knitted so tight that all the dimensions kind of fold together. All the worlds that there are – and plenty that there aren’t – get wrapped in a homicidal lover’s embrace. Impossibilities happen, moored to reality by the knots in the string. Like the tour guide says: in String City nothing makes sense, but everything hangs together. When the book opens the narrator, a hard boiled detective type in String City is being besieged by clients unhappy with his service when he is commissioned by the Titan Hyperion to find out who raided his gambling house, the Tartarus Club. This is the first of a series of highly improbable but decidedly enjoyable escapades and cases that all tie in to what appears to be an impending armageddon. Along the way, the gumshoe will encounter among other things cyclopses, golems, giant spiders, Jason of the argonauts, sentient robots, scarab beetle accountants and will pick up a girl Friday called Zephyr with secrets and problems of her own. String City is balls to the wall insanity, a mash of quantum physics, classic mythology and noir detective fiction. Digging deep into noir fiction tropes (including plenty of bourbon, a femme fatale and tragic backstory) Graham Edwards manages to play the weirdness straight and improbably this keeps the venture afloat. It is so crazy that it should not work. But it does.
I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley, in exchange for an unbiased review. Straight off the bat: I LOVE the world-building for this book. As a writer myself, world-building is an area of weakness for me, and I always get a little bit excited to see someone nailing that aspect of writing. If you are a world-building junkie, there is a lot to like, and the sheer scope of ambition is impressive. The science that underpins the setting is a good blend of fantastical, fresh, and believable, blending new and familiar elements alike (eg, dimension hopping and a lot of Greek myth). I also enjoyed the voice of the MC, having a fondness for noir (and it is VERY noir in atmosphere, despite the unusual setting.) The MC is an intriguing character, and because I don't want to get into spoilers I'll avoid giving too many specifics here, but suffice to say he's had a rather colourful life and is in possession of a varied skill set. However--and this is where my review strays into the realm of the subjective--he verges into being coy, at times. Zephyr, one of two sidekicks throughout the novel, has this to say about the MC: "Talking to you is like peeling an onion. Every time I think I'm getting somewhere, it turns out to be just another layer." ...And that's often how I felt as well. The MC's past and history start out as a mystery, and usually unveiled in moments of crisis. For example (no spoilers), MC finds himself in a jam--so we dip into a flashback about the time he did X Y Z, which gave him X item or Y skill, which he then promptly utilises. I was never sure whether the MC The reveals were funny/engaging, and well done. But too many of them began to feel like, the MC would always escape every impossible situation even if we as the reader could not see the way out, because he simply had an endless well of past experiences and items to draw on. Every time I thought I knew the limit of the MC's options, he would pull out something fresh, so I began to assume he would *always* do this, for every encounter. I hope this makes sense, I feel I am not explaining very well! Either way, it's not a huge issue, and is very subjective as I said, but *for me* this meant some the tension didn't run as high as it might have done. Overall I really enjoyed the book, though, and would certainly recommend it when it's out on shelves. Intrigued to see any sequels and what else the author does with the setting.
String City is where the universe’s different strings come together. Oh, mythological creatures like Zeus, monsters like cyclops and golems, and all manner of strangeness live there too. A world full of infinite possibilities makes some strange bedfellows. An unnamed private investigator is asked by the Titans to look into an explosion in their casino. He is a stringwalker, one who can move directly along the strings. However, the strings seem unsettled. Could it be the end times? I wanted to love this as much as The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. However, the explanation of string theory and how the world worked seemed overlong and overly complicated. However, if you are okay with extensive world building, you will like String City. The plot and character interactions are clever. 4 stars! Thanks to Rebellion Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
String City is bursting at the seams with an originality that left me in awe of the author’s ability to fit so much into one novel. This is a well-crafted, fast-paced detective story, filled with science fiction and fantasy elements. It’s as though everything from the speculative genres converges in this singularly unique place. The author tackles complicated concepts with ease, diving into interdimensional travel as though it’s second nature. The experience is a wild ride, to be sure, and any descriptions I can provide of the epicness won’t do it justice. Check this one out if you want to marvel at an author’s ability to put imagination behind every word. Full review at: https://reviewsandrobots.com/2019/03/04/string-city-book-review
“Talking to you is like peeling an onion. Every time I think I’m getting somewhere, it turns out to be just another layer.” Zephyr to the Gumshoe, ‘String City’. Thank you to Rebellion Publishing/Solaris for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘String City’, an Inter-dimensional thriller by Graham Edwards. This was a treat for someone like myself who has long enjoyed the ‘hard boiled’ private detective stories penned by Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett. The narrator here is never named and referred to by everyone as ‘gumshoe’. The setting is String City, an inter-dimensional city populated by gods, creatures of myth and legend, living concepts and all kinds of weird things. Insects and arachnids feature in the story and while I have a real aversion to cockroaches, I grew very fond of the tax beetle that turns up to audit the agency’s accounts at an inconvenient time. The narrator is a stringwalker, able to use the cosmic strings to move between realities. He also has a unique coat and a crate that he inherited when he bought the business from Jimmy the Griff full of quirky gumshoe gadgets. When an explosion rocks a casino he is hired by one of its Titan owners to investigate. Yet this apparently simple heist quickly leads to a race to stop the apocalypse. ‘String City’ is a novel with an Infinite Improbably Drive at its centre. Weird, surrealistic events and characters inhabit its pages. I enjoyed its strangeness even if at times while reading my brain felt turned inside out. I may well read again as I am certain that I missed plenty as it’s so packed with pop culture references and other fun stuff. The humour is very deadpan. I found it a highly entertaining mashup with great world-building and certainly scope for further adventures.