From Publishers Weekly
In this clever SF thriller from Ruff (Fool on the Hill
), almost everyone is a bad monkey of some kind, but only Jane Charlotte is a self-confessed member of The Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons. Or is she? In a series of sessions with a psychotherapist in the Las Vegas County Jail nut wing, Jane tells the story of her early life in San Francisco and her assimilation into the Bad Monkeys, an organization devoted to fighting evil. Crazy or sane, Jane is still a murderer, whether she used a weapon like the NC gun, which kills someone using Natural Causes, or more prosaic weaponry. Still, nothing is quite what it seems as Jane's initial story of tracking a serial killer janitor comes under scrutiny and the initial facts about her brother, Phil, get turned on their head. At times the twists are enough to give the reader whiplash. Ruff's expert characterization of Jane and agile manipulation of layers of reality ground the novel and make it more than just a Philip K. Dick rip-off. (July 24)
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Matt Ruff's fourth novel, a speculative thriller and takeoff on secret agent fiction, is clever, highly imaginative, fast-paced, hallucinatory, and even maniacal. It's also a satirical (and somewhat philosophical) riff on American society, good versus evil, and reality versus illusion. Jane Charlotte, who proves to be a totally unreliable (but intriguing) narrator, had critics guessing about her-and the Bad Monkeys-until the very end. While Bad Monkeys
has whiffs of Philip K. Dick, G. K. Chesterton, Brian Azzarello, and Thomas Pynchon, a few critics thought that without Ruff's crazy tricks (which some thought too
preposterous), Bad Monkeys
would be a ho-hum novel. The verdict: extra suspension of disbelief required.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.