September 18th, 2019


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The Devil in Amber, by Mark Gatiss

Second paragraph of third chapter:
I'd had an uneasy night — once my eyes closed — caught in a nightmarish New York of the future, all sky-scraping apartment blocks and rocket ships, as in those unpleasant German films. The dream-me, wearing only queerly tight underwear with President Coolidge's name embroidered about the waist, sauntered past the Algonquin, the pavement transformed into a howling white tunnel of cocaine. Overhead, Hubbard the Cupboard was performing dazzling aerobatics like Lucky Lindy, but the smoke trailing from his rocket-ship transformed into narcotics too, falling on my shoulders like snow. As his machine roared past, I distinctly saw bright rivulets of blood pouring from the aviator's nostrils and the dead man laughing at me, fit to burst.
Sequel to The Vesuvius Club, which I haven’t read. Painter and occasional spy Lucifer Box gets mixed up in improbable occult conspiracies involving weird politics in 1920s New York and England. I didn’t get much out of this; I felt that Box was a little too pleased with himself, and the conspiracy both too implausibly complex and not sufficiently connected with the real history of the time to be very satisfying. I’ve liked most of Gatiss’s Doctor Who books, but didn’t get much out of this. You can get it here.

This was my top unread book acquired in 2017. Next on that list is The Last Days of New Paris, by China Miéville.