The City & The City by China Mieville

I came across this list of science fiction books for people that don’t like science fiction by Book Riot last spring.  I do like science fiction, but this is my kind of bookish clickbait, so I clicked.  I had never heard of China Mieville before seeing this list and the description of The City and The City managed to sound enticing while saying absolutely nothing.  So, I tried to order it from the library, found that Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Libraries do not have this book and decided then and there that I had to read it.  Do you know how hard it is for me to order a book from Amazon without reading all of the reviews?  Really, really hard, but I did it and I avoided all of the goodreads reviews and I refrained from googling the title or author and I am so very glad that I did.

I think what I liked best about this book is the way that it looked in my head.  Vivid color juxtaposed with grainy black and white, people and things snapping in and out of focus.

Recently I wrote a post asking for mystery book recommendations.   I know there are great mysteries out there, but all of the ones I read just feel a little too pat.  Until this one.  Our hero is Inspector Tyador Borlu of the Beszel Extreme Crimes Squad.  He is working to solve a murder mystery that takes him across international borders to Ul Qoma, which has an uneasy relationship with his home country, and ends up involving politicians, academics, and seedy thugs from both nations.  It is an artfully told, mind-bending story.  The characters are multi-dimensional and the plot is complicated and twisty and free of holes or annoyingly convenient turns of events.  It is a mystery that satisfies completely.

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