Reviewed by David Brzeski
Imagine a version of the 1930s where pulp superheroes battle alongside hard boiled detectives; where the police patrol the city in airships, searching for prohibition-breaking gin joints and robot soldiers are sent off to the war across the sea in massive Ironclads. Imagine all this set in a world created by an author with a talent for evoking a sense of unease and paranoia equal to that of Philip K. Dick.
Private detective Rad Bradley doesn’t know what the hell is going on. He has no idea who he can trust. No one is who they appear to be. Nothing is what it seems. This science fiction-noir tale starts the reader guessing within the first few pages and will keep him (or her) guessing all the way to the end. Personally, I made a few correct guesses and several wrong guesses, but I never once ceased being surprised and delighted by the lively and twisted imagination of Adam Christopher.
I really don’t want to say any more about the plot. For one thing it would spoil the book for those who haven’t yet read it and for another, I couldn’t begin to encapsulate such a complex story in a short review! Convoluted though it is, never once does Adam Christopher drop the ball and lose track of where the story is heading.
This is definitely one of those books which leaves the reader wanting more, which is great, because – to add to all the fun and fascination, the reader, on finishing the book, is invited to join in with ‘World Builder’, a website where anyone can submit original stories, artwork, poetry, songs… anything, set within the world of Empire State. There is even a chance of being selected for publication in a future anthology.
It’s difficult to believe a work as accomplished as this is the author’s first novel. It certainly won’t be his last and I will definitely be along for the ride.