Book Review: Readings
Reviewed by Marc Savlov, Fri., March 16, 2001
BurnA Science Fiction Noir
by Jonathan Lyons
Domhan Books, 205 pp.,$18.95
In Burn, Austin's Jonathan Lyons takes the 21st century by the scruff and gives it a two-fisted knuckloid sandwich in the kisser. (Seeing as how the century is starting out so woefully it could use a good roughing up -- take that, you.) Lyons has John D. McDonald's Lew Archerisms down pat in this tale of Cage, a private dick and ex-flatfoot, predictably on the skids, who finds himself enmeshed in a futuristic power struggle involving Expedite (a global supercorporation), a schemey dame named Gild, and an ex-flame with uncertain alliances. Stripped of its sci-fi sheen, Burn might well have come out of the pages of Dime Mystery Magazine circa 1950. Tough-talking hired gorillas, free-flowing booze, and hydroponic cigarettes permeate the book like so much Bowery atmosphere, and while the storyline itself falls somewhat short of breathtaking originality, Lyons' hard-boiled style is right on cue. Come to think of it, I'd like to see the author try his hand at something outside of the purview of retro-futurism. This decent mix of James Ellroy via William Gibson is fun, raucous stuff to be sure, but beneath the cyber-trappings there beats the heart of a born gumshoe scribe.