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Three A.M. Hardcover – March 27, 2012
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
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
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!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author, John, looks positively smug in the snapshot on the back-flap. Read more
I am not a fiction reader, but read this book on recommendation from a friend, and found the entire book to be a fast-paced, thrilling story of an antihero faced with seemingly... Read morePublished on November 30, 2012 by Stephen Fischer
This is really two books. The first is a down on his luck PI working in a sunless world of yuck, where things are bad to worse. This book is darn good. A very good read. Read morePublished on October 27, 2012 by Garyius