Saturday, February 24, 2018

Book Review: 'Sucker' by Mark Lingane

Australian author Mark Lingane has published seven books and has been a commercial writer for nearly thirty years. He started as a technology writer at age 15 writing features for Australian Technology magazines, then during his late teens to mid-20s he had a weekly computing column in the Sunday Times (Western Australia) and was a monthly contributor to various Australian technology magazines. Mark was the editor/senior features writer of two independent technology magazines before evolving into a freelance technical writer within technology and resource companies. This led to his current occupation of a report specialist, which has allowed him to work in many exotic and far-flung places. His University studies ranged from Robotics, Anthropology, Philosophy, Computer Science to Psychology - a fine matrix from which to draw for his fascination with young adult science fiction novels.

Mark has two major series of books – The Tesla Novels and the Para-noir-mal Detectives Books (Beyond Belief was Book 1 and SUCKER is Book 2. It takes little imagination form his opening pages to know the flavor of the mystery about to unfold: ‘The phone rang, all innocent and coy. If I finish my drink before it stops I'll answer it. It was a bad bet. The glass had little more than ice and a bucket load of regret. I knocked back the last drops of the sickly sweet juice that burned as much coming up as it did going down. Click. "Yeah?" "My man's taken off with my money." The woman sounded as bored with life as life was with her. "You sure?" "It's money, sugar. You notice that kind of thing." Mina Camilla was her name. It sounded like a Spanish cabaret act. "Meet me at the Stylus," Mina said. I sat back and stared at the shadows of the ceiling fan flicking fast and slow. Mina sounded like lo-fi trouble, but the rent monster sniffed around this time of night looking for its bones, and the Stylus has the band. I liked the band. She could buy me a few drinks, and I could tell her I was too busy.’

Or as he poses in his synopsis, ‘Van H. Avram, PI, stumbles from case to case, getting by on his good looks and appeal to desperate dames. But when a missing-person case dumps the body of a skinny blond thing on his doorstep, he finds himself plummeting into the clutches of an underworld intent on human sacrifice. An ancient evil rises up to destroy the world and, without asking for it, Van is thrust into the role of savior. As reality--and the occasional building--collapses around him, he's chased, battered, and seduced by demons, vampires and unhinged women, all against a background of a war-ravished world wrapped up in vintage fashions and flying diesel-powered vehicles.Time ticks down to a do-or-die moment as the fate of the universe is decided in one final battle. But to save the universe, Van must face his own demons and an unremembered past.’

And so it goes with this series. While the story may seem bizarre to many, remember it is written by a man who is smart, wise, witty, and exotically gifted with an imagination that surpasses ordinary minds. He is indeed a writer to watch. Grady Harp, September 15

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.