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The Big Sheep: A Novel Hardcover – June 28, 2016
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"As original a plot as I've run across in a long time. The Big Sheep is a sheer delight!" - Hugh Howey, NYT Bestselling author of Wool
"Fun, fast, and addictive. Kroese gives us a sci-fi /noir detective story that manages to catch the reader off guard again and again." - Peter Clines, author of The Fold, 14, and the Ex-Heroes series
"An enthralling blend of sci-fi and noir, The Big Sheep left me salivating for a second helping of Erasmus Keane's adventures."
-- Rick Gualtieri, author of The Tome of Bill series
“Maybe Rob Kroese’s latest sci-fi novel, The Big Sheep, isn’t co-authored by Phillip Dick, but it does the late great author some serious homage. At the same time…and this is remarkable… Kroese has conjured up a thoroughly original, stunningly intelligent plot that both thrilled and delighted me. It also made me laugh. A riveting, hallucinatory joy-ride into a dangerous future by a terrific author writing at the top of his game.”
--Vincent Zandri, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Remains and When Shadows Come
"Kroese demonstrates his creative imaginative worldbuilding in this sci-fi mystery series debut set in 2039 Los Angeles." - PW
About the Author
ROBERT KROESE honed his sense of irony growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. After barely graduating from Calvin College, he stumbled into software development. In 2009, he called upon his extensive knowledge of useless information and love of explosions to write his first novel, Mercury Falls. He has written three more books in the Mercury series and a humorous epic fantasy, Disenchanted. The Big Sheep is probably something like Kroese's eleventh book, but there's no way to know for certain.
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+ Trusty Watson like character good in a pinch, but never sure about what is going on - check.
+ Super complex Raymond Chandler-like noir - check.
+ A really big sheep - what?
This is a novel that is firing on all cylinders. Often when you have a comedic novel the plot is just a scaffold to string along jokes. What matters is how the characters react to the situation. This is not true at all in this case. The plot from start to finish would have provided an excellent SF mystery novel even if played straight. It was interesting enough just to see how the plots converged through the twists and turns.
Add on to that Kroese' humor and I enjoyed it all the more. I was chuckling audibly from start to finish. There is some seriously funny lines. One joke was like a blackjack to the head when I saw the effort at the layup for it. Well a humorous blackjack to the head.
Then there are nice touches like the P.I. does not stand for Private Investigator and what it stands for is perfect if you know philosophy. I really liked the whole idea for it. I quite enjoyed the characters and there is plenty of room to build a series on them.
Satisfying on so many levels and a book I will return to again.
First, the clockwork of the story continues to develop with increasing complications that Kroese cleverly cleverly clues the reader in on from the perspective of the Blake Fowler character. It's fun to be "in" on what's happening from the perspective of one character while another character is oblivious to things until they hit him on the head.
Second, the story is incredibly accessible. Kroese meshes familiar genres, but I'm surprised that I'm the only one thus far to see the correlation between The Big Sheep and Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently series. Anyway, it's a book I'd be very comfortable handing over to a non-geeky friend. It stands with The Martian and Ready Player One - accessible sci-fi written in a "guy you'd hang out with" voice. It's also a very visual story, I could easily imagine this book translating to the screen.
Third, the book is genuinely funny, and the comedy is multi-layered. Some of the jokes are one-liners, but there's also very clever dark humor weaved into the narrative's threads. I read the whole thing in one sitting and managed to annoy those sitting around me in various places by occasionally bursting into laughter or doing a facepalm.
Anyway, I get that this is a big review - but The Big Sheep deserves a big review. It's a wonderful book. Get it, you'll love it.
I'll spare you the plot details. I'll just sum it up this way: if you like hard-boiled detectives, noir mysteries, and science fiction, you'll enjoy this. Kroese mixes them all together and makes it work. His prose is sparse. He doesn't waste a lot of time on unnecessary descriptions but nevertheless manages to paint a convincing picture of a Los Angeles (as well as the larger outside world) that is slowly recovering from a terrible economic collapse. The characters are interesting and entertaining. There's lots of humor but the actual plot is quite serious. The humor arises from the characters and their quirks, as well as the logical conclusions for some seemingly ridiculous decisions. The story is self-contained but presents a large enough canvas that could be used as the backdrop for other stories (I hope). This is a world worth mining for its mysteries, and I'm betting there are plenty.
What I didn't expect is that he still had his best work in him. After a dozen novels Kroese's first major release is a stunning accomplishment, a totally unique near-future world, a speculative fiction tale with unique-yet-familiar characters, at the same time poignant and snarky, adventuresome and thoughtful, smart and silly. None of the competing moods of the book feel forced, though -- The Big Sheep is it's own unique world.
I hear there's a sequel in the works. It can't come soon enough. Mystery/Scifi/SpecFic fans -- this is a no brainer. Fans of Neal Stephenson, Ian Tregillis, Hugh Howey, Ernest Kline -- you won't regret this purchase.
Most recent customer reviews
This is for people with a quirky sense of humour. Page turner that will make you laugh.Read more