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Those Who Walk in Darkness Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
When a supervillain wastes San Francisco in this high-octane futuristic thriller from screenwriter Ridley (The Drift), the U.S. decides to expel all "metanormals" within its borders. Those who choose to remain are hunted down by MTacs, police units who only have one job-kill the freaks. It isn't a terribly original premise-Batman fans will recognize the influence of Frank Miller's seminal graphic novel, The Dark Knight Returns-but that's fine, because a premise is all it is, and Ridley knows it. Soledad O'Roark, a 26-year-old MTac and an engineering genius, has a virulent hatred of metanormals. Her tale is one of unremitting darkness, and from early on it's easy to tell it won't have a happy ending. For all the bleakness, though, Ridley makes it hard not to pull for Soledad. Readers will find themselves torn between sympathy, empathy, pity and disgust, often on the same page. With its lavish fight scenes, the book was clearly written with an eye on film adaptation. Yet Ridley, whose Hollywood credits include work on Three Kings and Undercover Brother, knows how to make his story work both as a novel and as a proto-screenplay. And as a novel, it works very well indeed.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
In the near future, real superheroes pop up and start saving people from crime and disaster. But then superbaddies show up, too, and eventually, San Francisco is toast. Declaring no tolerance toward all supers, the president opens season on those who won't leave the country. Big-city police create MTacs--special units to hunt the "muties," as the supers are popularly called--and L.A. cop Soledad O'Roark, 26, has just joined one. On her first mission, she literally pulls her unit out of the fire but gets in trouble because she uses an as-yet-unapproved gun. Banished to a desk, she stews until an ambitious lawyer bulldozes her into going counteroffensive. Lucky she hires the shark, since no sooner is she on the street again, as a patrolling uniform, than she drops another mutie and is back in dutch for attracting attention during an internal investigation. Of course, she is back with an MTac for a showdown with the bereaved husband of her second mutie kill; meanwhile, she has developed a love interest that leads to a second showdown and a moral: Never forgive your chosen enemies, even if one of them loves you, saves your life, and saves another life when you can't. Some moral. Violent crime specialist Ridley's foray into sf reads like a glorified screenplay, all tough talk and action waiting for a director and bodies to give it any life. Since Matrix producer Joel Silver has made a deal, admirers of Love Is a Racket (1997) and The Drift (2002) could wait for the movie. Ray Olson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The action scenes were quick and at times brutal; definately not the spectacular kind of action found in comic books like the Justice Leage or Avengers. I guess what I'm saying is that it was as realistic as you can get in this kind of fiction.
The prose was James Ellroy like. Terse and quick. Don't use 7 words when 4 will do. It seemed to me like the prose was ment to reflect Soledad. She is not the type to be flowery and neither is the writing.
Give this book a shot (pun definately intended).
It was a worthwhile purchase, though, even though I DID read it in a two-sitting binge. I liked the alternate reality world where superheroes and villains exist, and the way bureaucracies and mere humans cope with the day to day of trying to enforce the laws against them. The story itself was suspenseful and hard to put down, and the writing was terse and really added to the story. So many suspense/action novels seem like a waste of trees--why not just go straight to the screenplay sale that this is obviously angling for? Not in this case--while the story WOULD make a great movie, the writing itself adds a dimension to the story that a mere screenplay would not have.
But what I most liked was the way I was placed in the position of being sympathetic toward someone whose political views I despised (and like most fans of the x-men, I read anti-mutant as racism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc.) and wanting the best for her even while I root against her side succeeding.
The main problem I had with the book was that it wasn't long enough. It obviously is the first of several or a series, or at least I hope it is because much was left unfinished at the end of this book. I'm looking forward to more!
She has no redeeming features at all. She is a bigoted fanatic of the worst sort ... and she wallows in it ... and so does the author. Well, to be fair, Stirling claims not to love his fascist Draka (I've never been sure I believe that claim), so its possible that Ridley is trying to make a point about bigoted fanatics ... but it doesn't come across that way.
Then there's the believability factor of the background. I can't quite come to grips with this ... its supposed to be a gritty realistic police thriller. But with superheroes who wear their underpants on the ouitside. There's something that just doesn't gel ... it just seems inherently ... silly? unbelievable? strange? It just doesn't work for me, anyway.
Apart from the above, the book is reasonably well written. Won't win the Nobel Prize for Literature, or the Hugos or the Nebulas. But it isn't awful and amateurish. Its just there are other problems. As noted.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After finishing the book and deciding to check out other people's reviews out of curiosity I expected...Read more