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Friday, June 24, 2011

Spook Country by William Gibson

This was June's Scifi book group selection, and a delight to read.  I've always been partial to Gibson's work, having read all but two of his books - Idoru and All of Tomorrow's Parties.  I'll get to them one of the days...when I have a bit more time...(lol!)

From Tito is in his early twenties. Born in Cuba, he speaks fluent Russian, lives in one room in a NoLita warehouse, and does delicate jobs involving information transfer.

Hollis Henry is an investigative journalist, on assignment from a magazine called Node. Node doesn't exist yet, which is fine; she's used to that. But it seems to be actively blocking the kind of buzz that magazines normally cultivate before they start up. Really actively blocking it. It's odd, even a little scary, if Hollis lets herself think about it much. Which she doesn't; she can't afford to.

Milgrim is a junkie. A high-end junkie, hooked on prescription antianxiety drugs. Milgrim figures he wouldn't survive twenty-four hours if Brown, the mystery man who saved him from a misunderstanding with his dealer, ever stopped supplying those little bubble packs. What exactly Brown is up to Milgrim can't say, but it seems to be military in nature. At least, Milgrim's very nuanced Russian would seem to be a big part of it, as would breaking into locked rooms.

Bobby Chombo is a "producer," and an enigma. In his day job, Bobby is a troubleshooter for manufacturers of military navigation equipment. He refuses to sleep in the same place twice. He meets no one. Hollis Henry has been told to find him.

Pattern Recognition was a bestseller on every list of every major newspaper in the country, reaching #4 on the New York Times list. It was also a BookSense top ten pick, a WordStock bestseller, a best book of the year for Publishers Weekly, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and the Economist, and a Washington Post "rave."

Spook Country is the perfect follow-up to Pattern Recognition.

It's been several years since I've read Pattern Recognition, so I can't really speak on if this is the 'perfect follow-up' to said book.  However, the writing style between PR and Spook Country was close enough that my thoughts did contemplate how similar the two books felt.  

I enjoyed this selection, the three plots just pulled me along and I looked forward to all of the main characters, which often is not the case in a multi-plot book. Each one had their own nuance that I didn't mind bouncing between them.  It was pointed out in book group, that all the characters had an 'ex'.  For example, we have ex-spies, ex-dj's, ex-government workers, ex-musicians.  We couldn't recall a single character that wasn't as such.  How delightful!  

It is also my opinion that the way the three plots came crashing together was fantastic.  The buildup was a lot like canoeing - it started out as a nice gentle stream, then the current picks up and you are being pulled right along with minimal effort, then all of a sudden there is a burst of excitement as a couple of tributaries come together, then whew! You are back floating along wondering slightly what the heck just happened and exhilarated by the ride.

Yeah.  It was a lot like that.  Recommended.

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