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Three A.M. Hardcover – March 27, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The shadows. The danger. I'm still breathing, but barely. I finished this riveting book (and lived. Will you? Breathtaking.")

About the Author

Steven John and his wife, an elementary school teacher, live in Los Angeles by way of Washington D.C. and New York, respectively. He splits his time between many things, most of which involve words. Three A.M. is his first novel.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1St Edition edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765331160
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765331168
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,381,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Three A.M. opens as an atmospheric noir thriller and turns slowly dystopian. Tom Vale is a classic P.I. in a fog-bound city that no one ever leaves. He's a hard-bitten, 30-something drunk who has nearly let go of his happy memories of the long-distant past. It's been fifteen years since a grisly pandemic stole his family and friends, leaving him desolate and alone. When a clumsily seductive young thing named Rebecca shows up at his favorite bar and tries to convince him to find the person who committed the murder her lover has been jailed for, Vale is smitten, but still jaded enough to smell a rat.

Vale continues to blindly grope his way through the city's fog, working on his own cases, but also quietly investigating Rebecca's story. He finds himself the subject of observation himself, and soon, in deep trouble.

John steeps his characters in the fug of the beleagered city. They're worn down and hopeless. Vale's despair is palpable and affecting. But just when it hints at wearing on the reader, John changes up the action and (literally) sheds some light on Vale's dire situation. He finally begins to reveal the mystery of both the city and the plague, and why Vale is suddenly deeply involved. From that point, the novel turns into a compelling thriller whose conclusion the reader will be happily anxious to reach. Fans of China Mièville will definitely enjoy.
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Format: Hardcover
For fifteen years, Tom Vale has been quarantined inside a city enshrouded by thick, impenetrable fog. Outside the city, the world has been ravaged by a mysterious plague that killed millions. No one can enter the city and no one can leave. When he isn't drunk, Tom works as a debt collector or a PI who beats up people. Mostly he stumbles through life, from one bottle to the next. Then he meets a mysterious client, Rebecca, who claims her boyfriend has been framed for the murder of a scientist. Soon, Tom is no longer stumbling, but running for his life as he uncovers the deadly secrets that have imprisoned over twenty thousand innocent people inside a city of fog.

Steven John's "Three A.M." is a brilliant novel that highly intrigued me. Like many classic novels such as Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" (Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus), it works well on various levels. First, it is a great science fiction horror story of people trapped in a nightmare world. Second, this novel is a social commentary. The setting and time are unknown, because "Three A.M." could apply to any culture that has been decimated by greed. In today's society, many citizens walk aimlessly and despairingly through life as though trapped in a fog. Tom Vale compared humans to animals whose sole purpose in life is to eat, sleep and procreate. In the city of fog, life has amounted to no more than this. Then Tom finds love in the form of Rebecca and, suddenly, life has more meaning than obtaining the bare necessities; however, life soon also becomes more dangerous, more exciting.

Initially, Tom Vale is not a very likeable character.
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Format: Hardcover
Three A.M. starts out in gritty noir fashion as Thomas Vale sets eyes on a beautiful blond, Rebecca, at the bar he frequents. Vale is a Private Investigator and Rebecca wants to hire him. What Vale doesn't know is that he's already caught up in something beyond a simple case for one of his clients.

Mr. John creates an incredibly dark and murky world of shadows and mist, a city without sunlight, which is reflected in Tom Vale. He's as hopeless as the city in which he lives. Vale is an intriguing character. He's morally ambiguous, down and out. He drinks a lot. Takes more pills than he should to sleep. He's a man with no illusions about anything, including himself. Over the course of the novel, things change for Vale as he learns more about what is really going on in his sunless city. Vale is the most well-developed character in Three A.M. At times during the story I actively disliked him. Despite this, I cared about Vale and what was happening to him.

While Three A.M. starts out feeling like noir, it does not hold that for the entire novel. Once certain events happen the entire tone of the novel changes. It became more of a thriller for me than anything else. While the pacing of the novel is quite good, I enjoyed the change of tone and the resulting quicker pace.

Three A.M. is a gripping mix of noir and thriller set in a near-future dystopia. It is at times deeply moving, at times very raw, and at times pure adrenalin rush.

I give Three A.M. 4 Qwills.

Originally posted at The Qwillery
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Format: Hardcover
Bought this at the bargain store not expecting much but was pleasantly surprised. The author does a great job describing the atmosphere - you can feel how heavy the fog/mist is that people live in. How it weighs everyone and everything down. The book goes downhill about half way through but it's still worth the read.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a compelling mystery novel that incorporates intriguing elements of Crime Noir and Dystopian Fiction.

The tale begins in a city shrouded in fog, and the sun hasn't been seen in over fifteen years. Ennui and depression seems to prevent any inquiry into the quandary. Thomas Vale, a jaded and boozy detective, is trying to find out who has been stealing from an entrepreneur who compiles artifacts to remind people of that long ago time when the sun used to shine.

Soon, the plot makes a complete "180", and you find that things are not at all what they seem to be.

Steven John's writing is strictly utilitarian, but the story is very inventive and the action is fast-paced and clicks right along. You won't be blown away by the character development or narrative structure, yet the dread and foreboding of being stuck in a life of unending fog is chillingly presented.

The quintessential 'beach' or 'airport' read!
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