Ian R. MacLeod is the author of The Light Ages, The House of Storms, The Great Wheel and a host of short stories and novellas. His 2008 novel, Song of Time, won the Arthur C. Clarke Award.
The Big Boom features the return of Dante Mancuso, the hero of Stansberry's Chasing the Dragon, an obsessive private investigator working the streets of his San Francisco neighborhood. He is a dark-eyed, complex figure---melancholic, tender, with fierce, aquiline good looks---known to neighborhood familiars by his nickname: the Pelican. Dante's nickname---like the demons that haunt his personal life---comes from his family on account of his tenacity, and his large, Sicilian nose.
Now Dante has settled into a new apartment in North Beach, hoping to put those demons behind him and patch together a life with his longtime lover, Marilyn Visconte, but before long he is approached by an old North Beach family in hopes that he will find their missing daughter---a young woman, a former sweetheart, with whom Dante had been involved years before---and his newfound peace is shattered.
Dante's search for Angela Antonelli, though, has hardly begun when the corpse of a young woman is dredged from the bay. He soldiers on in his investigation, fearful that the missing woman and the corpse are one and the same.
His search for the missing woman---even after he has been called off the case---becomes an obsession that alienates his current lover, but Dante follows the ghostly trail anyway into the heart of the financial district and the underside of the dot-com revolution. It is a quest rendered in the staccato prose of the genre, a style that---in Stansberry's hands---takes on a dreamlike cast, hallucinatory at times, blurring the lines between reality and Dante's own dark nostalgia.
The Big Boom is a tightrope of a novel, a taut story about familial duplicity, personal greed, and the desperate pull of love even across the divide of memory.
Private Eye Ramone Ramone is approached one night by a mysterious
woman offering him $10,000 to find a rare book. It seems her son has
joined a cult and offered its guru a family heirloom: an original
edition of The Corsican Dove. After accepting the case, Ramone discovers
that the book is worth less than a carton of cigarettes. With the
murders of five interested parties and death threats received by Ramone
and his drug-dealing partner, he learns that there are some heavy
hitters out there including his own clients who have no intention of
letting Ramone get his hands on The Corsican Dove. How can a $7.00 book
be worth dying for?
After a career with a shadowy security firm with interests on both sides of the law, Dante has come home to put all that behind him and has gone to work for a private investigator. A call alerts him early one morning that Bill Owens, a fellow PI, has been charged with a notorious thirty-year-old killing. Bill was involved in a political group in the late sixties, which among other pranks and small-time crimes, held up a bank. Except that time, an innocent bystander was shot and killed. To clear Owens of these charges, Dante will have to retrace the original investigation through San Francisco's radical underground and bring in the man who was pulling the strings.
The Ancient Rain is a chilling novel from one of crime fiction's finest. Stansberry spools out a narrative filled with deceit and betrayal, and in his hands the line between justice and revenge is razor sharp.
On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.
Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.
Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.
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