A riveting blend of high-tech thriller and fast-paced adventure. Packed with knife-edge tension, intriguing characters, and startling plot twists that will keep you turning the pages.
In the Fourth Realm trilogy, John Twelve Hawks introduces readers to a dangerous fantasy world inspired by modern technology that monitors our lives. The suspense series concludes in this powerful third novel,
following the entire cast of this mesmerizing world that exists in the shadows of our own. Maya, the Harlequin who has pledged to protect Gabriel with her life, will face a situation from which there is no escape. Nathan Boone, the cold and calculating executive of the Brethren, will face Michael, a man who has gone over the edge for power. Hollis, living in grief and becoming a Harlequin himself, will have to choose whether to stay with Gabriel as he embarks on a journey that may lead to his own death. Publishers Weekly hailed the series as “a saga that’s part A Wrinkle in Time, part The Matrix and part Kurosawa epic.
After reading the first two novels in order to have the story of 'The Fourth Realm' fresh, now having read the final installment.. I feel like it was a waste of time.
The third novel didnt live up to my expectations. It had such great possibilities. Yet, the whole novel was a series of cop-outs and Hawks proceeded to finish the story as if it was a chore instead of a passionate activity. In the two first books so much was promised and big concepts were imagined just to turn around and do nothing with all that in the third. I also wasnt thrilled when a key character decided to change his personality and motives, completely around, for no good reason.
The ending leaves an opening for the furthering of the series.. Yet, by the looks of 'The Golden City', I doubt that anyone will remotely be looking forward to an addition.
No matter how shiny and safe a city gets, no matter how high its housing prices climb, how fast its crime rates fall and how many of its corner stores are turned into buzz-before-entering boutiques dedicated to clothing the “urban baby” or are replaced by franchised coffee shops with WiFi hot spots for laptop-toting Beat poets, there is one sort of room at the city’s very core whose design schemes rarely shift upscale and whose typical occupants — be they real or fictional — resist much gentrification of the soul, let alone beautification of the hair. The walls of such rooms are dull, their lights are harsh, and hunkered down in most of them are a jittery suspect and two clever cops, one of whom tends to act hostile and volatile, the other one solicitous and calm. Over this trio hangs a plain round clock.
Sometimes the hands move slowly, sometimes swiftly, but when they’re controlled by a serious storyteller, they always tell the same time: too late, too late. That’s the lesson of these ugly pens. A case may be cracked and the motives behind it exposed, but the greater mysteries always go unsolved: what good are answers when what’s done is done and something just like it, or worse, will happen tomorrow?
In “Lush Life,” Richard Price’s eighth novel, the resurfacing project that caps the same old potholes (and threatens to collapse in certain areas, potentially creating immense new craters capable of swallowing small crowds) targets the tangled, once tenement-lined streets of New York City’s Lower East Side. In Realtor-speak, the district is “in transition,” which means in Police Department terms that its college-educated young renting class and bonus-gorged co-op-owning elite can still score narcotics from the old-guard locals, whose complexions are generally darker than the new folks’, making them easy to spot on party nights but tricky to ID in photo lineups come the red-eyed mornings after. Keeping such bloody collisions of class and color to an acceptably inconspicuous minimum is the job of the so-called quality-of-life squads that Price — a consummate stalker-realist who seems to have written the book from stoops and doorways; his gaze is that pathologically focused, his ear that tuned — portrays as a nincompoop nouvelle constabulary whose stakeouts are so light on lock-and-load moments they’d put even the Hardy Boys to sleep. Down on newly hip Orchard and Eldridge Streets, among the exclusive no-signage clubs and Zagat-rated fusion eateries, what was once an authentic urban jungle has almost themed itself out of existence, turning a lot of the cops into park rangers.
But once in a while the cooped-up cats still pounce, tempted by so much slow-moving, pampered prey, all sodden with money and novelty martinis. The lights go on in Price’s interrogation room after just such an ambush.
The victim — the one who lives — is Eric Cash, in his own mind an emerging writer but known to the world as a veteran restaurant manager. In his mid-30s, the descendant of Jewish ghetto-dwellers who lived and died on the same city blocks where Eric is riding out his undiscovered phase along with 20,000 other tip-dependent would-be screenwriters, he heads out one night with two pals into the Disneyhood and suddenly finds himself in Scorceseland. A gun comes out, a brown finger on its trigger, and the next thing Eric knows he’s in the ugly room recounting the mugging and murder of his friend Ike to a female officer, Yolanda, and a more traditionally male and Irish fellow, Matty Clark. Eric thinks he’s a witness but really he’s a suspect, and Price provides the taut, triangular dialogue, which at first sounds a bit like standard noir talk (Price writes for the cable crime drama “The Wire”) but soon grows bushier, thornier and taller in a way the screen can’t quite contain because of its horizontal orientation but which fits with the verticality of the page and sometimes, as the book goes on, climbs clean off it and up into the sky.
Here’s a restaurant owner, Eric’s boss, griping about the hypersensitive neighbors who’ve been bugging him to keep the noise down or risk the cancellation of his liquor license. “The whites. The, the ‘pioneers. ... The Latinos? The Chinese? The ones been living here since the Flood? Couldn’t be nicer. Happy for the jobs. The thing is, the complainers? They’re the ones that started all this. We just follow them. Always have, always will. Come down here, buy some smack squat from the city, do a little fix-up, have a nice big studio, rent out the extra space, mix it up with the ethnics, feel all good and politically righteous about yourself. But those lofts now? Those buildings? Twenty-five hundred square feet, fourth floor, no elevator, Orchard and Broome. Two point four mil just last week.”
If fiction writing were a fairer profession, the price of such hearing would be blindness, but the hell of it is that Price can also see — even in the dark and at great distances — and not only with his ordinary two eyes but with a wider, clearer third one that’s set between them and an inch above them. “The Clara E. Lemlich Houses were a grubby sprawl of 50-year-old high-rises sandwiched between two centuries. To the west, the 14-story buildings were towered over by One Police Plaza and Verizon headquarters, massive futuristic structures without any distinguishing features other than their blind climbing endlessness.”
Raymond Chandler is peeping out from Price’s skull, as well he should be, given such gloomy doings, but in the enormous, cross-sensory architecture of the last three words above, one detects Saul Bellow’s vision, too. Price is a builder, a drafter of vast blueprints, and though the Masonic keystone of his novel is a box-shaped N.Y.P.D. office, he stacks whole slabs of city on top of it and excavates colossal spaces beneath it. He doesn’t just present a slice of life, he piles life high and deep. Time too. The past is rendered mostly as an absence, though, as a set of caverns, a hive of catacombs. Some of his characters’ ancestors are down there, but the main way we know this is through the hollowness of the new neighborhood built over their crypts.
Should it even be called a neighborhood now? Price asks. That’s the grand question the book sets out to answer by way of a thousand other tiny questions about who did it; who saw it; why it happened; and whether — in the case of Ike’s stricken, delirious father, who is the novel’s master character even if he doesn’t dominate its stage — its human consequences can be endured.
For quite a while the answer is “no”; the Lower East Side is a real estate designation, an emotionally vacant quality-of-life zone that used to be woven together by kinship ties, religious, racial and familial, which have since been dissolved by the acids of selfishness. That’s been the true transition in the precinct, from an ethic of mutual survival to an obsession with personal enjoyment. The delinquents from the projects, the crooks and the perps are more durably unified, one feels at times, than the unattached brats whom they pick off one by one as these slummers vomit $12 cocktails into the gutters after nights out with friends they met only yesterday and who moved into town only the week before.
Tentatively and gradually, however, fragile, improvised bonds begin developing like laundry lines strung between apartment windowsills. Catalyzed by a miniature crisis that means nothing in the scope of history but everything down on the sidewalks and the streets, detectives align themselves with victims’ families, freed suspects with the officials who once suspected them, managers with the workers whose tips they skim. The transient, self-serving affinities that pass for affection just before the bars close and the showy displays of grief that intensify when the media are around melt and trickle away over the curbs, where they’re splashed into vapor by the trucks and cars supplying the place with its goodies and its shoppers. There’s an orthodox leftist sentimentality here mixed up with a certain primal conservative yearning, but they react in solution toward the end to form a raw and slightly unstable new compound that Price isn’t shy about valuing higher than mere gold — which, despite its shiny, alluring heft, ultimately weighs us down until we can only stand in place, envious, anxious, cocky and alone.
Just started reading Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail, '72. I have read most of Hunter S. Thompsons books before because I love his Gonzo style of journalism, just never got around to this one because the subject matter didn't really appeal to me. I couldn't have been more wrong, an amazing read.