Title: Quantum Marlowe by Glenn Lazar Roberts
Publisher: TWB Press
Genre: Crime Noir, Sci-Fi, Heroic Fantasy,
440 pages +
Publish: TBA January 2019
Pete Marlowe, a tiny but tough private detective, is having a bad day. Two mad scientists abducted him, lopped off his little finger, and installed a red button that enables him to walk through walls. Targeting Pete because his con-artist uncle secretly unloaded the Blarney Stone on the Pope, the kidnappers send him in to get the Stone back, snaring Pete in a plan that involves the Vatican, Mexican drug cartels, and a World War II Nazi project called The Bell. Can “Pinky’s” street smarts survive the scientists’ manipulations? Or is he destined to be marooned in a parallel universe? Quantum mechanics meets hard-boiled detective in this classic film noir take-off of Dashiell Hammett’s famous Sam Spade and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe. “When Pinky gives them the finger, they stay fingered. I’m just that kinda guy.”
Pete Marlowe isn’t five feet tall, but the hardboiled detective PI can usually take care of himself with his smarts, his mouth, and his favorite Colt 45. It starts off simply enough all Detective Sergeant Joe Friday. Unfortunately, this time little Irish Pete may have gotten in over his head. Okay, so maybe that isn’t so difficult given his height, but the case has taken on proportions he never would have guessed.
This crazy narrative starts out crime film noir and proceeds into overwhelming fantasy sci-fi, quantifiably unusual and uniquely quirky. The first thing you have to swallow is the lopped off pinky and the insertion of a red button, the Universal Indexer. He merely needs to remove the little pinky cover to expose what is an awesomely powerful weapon. He is given this before he is ostensibly sent to retrieve the Blarney Stone that his uncle had stolen and taken to the Pope. (Yeah, that Pope!) He is being sent to the Vatican to find, grab, and return it. Are you confused yet? If not, you will be. Because that evolves into the most phantasmal story I’ve read in a long time, except for the one my (also Irish) grandfather concocted to span the pond.
How in the world does this spin so far out of control so quickly? At the Vatican, the reader begins to get the glimmer that this isn’t just a simple fantasy sci-fi. It quickly becomes so multi-layered, so complicated and complex that if you weren’t paying attention you’d be lost now, somewhere in the catacombs, the tunnels far beneath Vatican proper. Not to worry, Pete will find a way out with his uncle at the lead.
Thank heaven for that parallel universe (actually universes–plural) as otherwise our clever Italian Canali suited detective would never have survived the mobsters who send him deep into Mexico to a hidden Aztec pyramid in the mountains of the Sierra Madre to deal with the cartel, who are actually pretty clever themselves. At this point, you’ve guessed it may not be simply the Blarney Stone he is after. No, it’s not going to be that simple.
Author Roberts notes in his bio that he loves language. Well, who could have guessed that? This story is chock full of humorous metaphors, similes, twists of well-known clichés, phrases, and all manner of tongue-in-cheek connotations, innuendoes, and insinuations.
“How many?” “You can’t count to one?”
“…sang like a Chicago choir.”
“…hate and smugnicity…”
“My smirk out-smirked theirs.”
“…a clutch of attack poodles?”
“…the monument to Frank Lloyd Wrong…”
“…to playing Robbing Hood.”
“…Leaning Tower of Pizza.”
“…crowded interior alter egos…”
“…Pietro came to life like an unpaid speeding ticket…”
“…molasses-like slowness of a computer on reboot…”
It’s a constant challenge to the English language albeit a fun one. How many ways can you have fun with a simple phrase? Apparently, many. Can you multi-task while reading this one? Probably not. Add to that all the quantum mechanic stuff and there were periods where the text went flying over my head. But did I give up? No, I’m just that kinda stubborn. You need to exercise some patience if you’re going to get the reward.
This is not a cozy mystery length novel. Expect to remain for the long haul. There are few slow-paced passages. The well-plotted and fast-moving intricate narrative involves multiple well-developed personalities. Dialogue runs from typical forties film noir to the wacky. Reading this book becomes a quasi-train wreck scenario. You can’t believe where this is going and you have to see for yourself how it is going to conclude.
I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley and appreciate the opportunity to get into something far from my usual genre. I don’t do that often. Recommended for die-hard fans of exceptional avant-garde prose.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
About The Author: Glenn Lazar Roberts is an international attorney and writer of sci-fi, horror, satire, and adventure fantasy novels. Glenn has taught college, professionally translated Arabic and Russian, and credits an eclectic group of famous writers or inspiring him to write. “I love language. I am perpetually afloat on a sea of script.” Roberts has edited the work of other aspiring writers and hosts a writing critique circle. When he’s not writing, he enjoys swimming. He lives in Houston with his wife and kids.
(Amazon Author Page) Writer, editor, attorney, historian, and linguist. My favorite languages are Arabic, Russian, and English. In fiction, my writing style is either popular and entertaining, as in my sci-fi novel Frenzy. Or mythological and esoteric, as in my Maalstrom series. In non-fiction, I write about contemporary affairs and Islam, primarily from an anthropological and linguistic viewpoint, using my own translations from the Quran.
©2018 V Williams