What if . . .

I wrote a post about science fiction and fantasy books that I’ve reviewed, including one called Wandering City Blues by Jonny Lupsha. I liked that book, and I hope to read more by this author. (I’ll add the relevant paragraphs at the end in case you want to glance through them.)

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After I send a book review to my editor, I often go on line to see what others have said. Wandering City Blues had eight reviews on Amazon—five five-star reviews, one four-star, one three-star and a one-star review. The person who wrote the one-star review said, “Poor story premise. Humans could have built taller buildings or moved to higher ground.” At first, I wanted to argue with that anonymous person and defend the book, but on second thought, I just felt sorry for him or her. The comment writer was probably one of those people never ask, “What if . . .” Although I’d done a lot of writing in my life, I’d never written any fiction until I was past 60 years old. What a joy it’s been. I let my mind wander free in a way that I’d never done before. It turns out there are all kinds of stories in there and all kinds of interesting people to meet whom I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t given myself that freedom. I recommend it to you. It’s a lot of fun.

The review:

If cozy mysteries are too tame for you, then maybe you’d enjoy one of the weirdest police procedurals that I’ve ever read. Fair warning, there’s sex and a lot of violence. The book is Wandering City Blues by Jonny Lupsha.

What’s a wandering city, you may wonder. At some future time, a lethal red fog comes out of the ocean and covers the Earth a thousand feet deep.

At the same time, 13 enormous creatures also come out of the ocean. These creatures, each one different from the others, are the last refuges for those few thousands humans who survive the fog. When I say these creatures are huge, they’re more than a quarter of a mile tall and large enough that people can build cities on their backs. And they wander. They have different routes, some of which intersect. As the book opens, we are now 100 years past the ascension. Four generations of humans have lived on the creatures.

Because it takes a while to set up this world for the reader, we’re fairly well into the book when the first murder occurs. Detective Leon Adler and his partner Iris are assigned to solve the mystery. And if you think things have been strange so far, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Leon and Iris follow their suspect across their world from one huge creature to another until they finally solve the mystery.

As important as solving a case usually is in a book like this, it take second place to the world building and character building that this author does. Leon and Iris are unique as partners in crime solving. And no matter when you think you have them figured out, there’s always another surprise coming.

And the very best thing about this book is the hint on the last page that there may be a second book in the works. I certainly hope so.

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