Hounds of the Underworld, by RABARTS & MURRAY

cover_Hounds of the UnderworldI feel as if Dan or Lee, or both, wrote to the background of AC/DC’s If you want Blood, You’ve got it. Because blood is what links together the best of the worst events in this New Zealand futuristic gripper. Matiu – a “sidekick” to his sister Pandora, is haunted by a spirit being of whom, after his years of therapy, he thought he had gained control. Until he touched a bowl.
A simple bowl, but it draws blackness into him, and he sticks to Pandora’s side throughout her work – unofficially – on a police murder case.
Which evolves into a multiple crime. Penny (Pandora) finds herself in situations a simple lab technician should not need to be in; but she too is gripped by the need for resolution – and by worry over Matiu’s changed state.

Rabarts and Murray have solid research behind the story, set in the 2020s, a future in which is revealed a most plausible system of agricultural production and city life. All the more awful is the juxtaposition of the past spiritual elements against daily life, which chill your bones. You’ll find yourself underlining, highlighting, re-reading…just because you want to.

Here’s one of many passages I loved…underlining mine…


Penny can’t understand why her parents insist on treating her like a twelve year-old. She’d called for a driver, not a damned babysitter. The last thing she needs is Matiu tagging along like a piece of soggy toilet paper stuck to her shoe. She clamps her lips shut and glances back. And just look at him: head down, shoulders slumped, hands stuffed in the pockets of his leather jacket. He’s the one behaving like a sulky teen. Why does he have to go talking to himself when they’re out in public, anyway? Mumbling under his breath to his imaginary friend… She steps through the doorway, noting its splintered frame, and is confronted by a human wookie. Two metres plus, with oversized hands, and long overdue for a haircut.

“Who the fuck are you?” it bellows.

Penny jumps, startled. “I was called…”

Get a grip, Penny. You’re not here to audition for Miss Muffet. You have a right to be here…

“You the lab girl? The one that Noah Cordell recommended? Pandora somebody? Cordell swore you were reliable; I expected you half an hour ago.”

Penny tries not to bristle at the slight. After all, this is work. And apart from a few tests—some simple DNA analyses to resolve a private paternity suit and routine monitoring of the blooms stinking up the city’s beaches—there hasn’t been much cause to turn on the fumehood since she left LysisCo. She squares her shoulders, extends her hand.

Suck it up, girl.


The tone is light, especially that first paragraph I’ve dropped in here. Imagery via words – as underlined – is the strength of their writing. Maybe I could have picked something more thrilling…but not all would be able to not squirm.
Note: expect a distance interview to be posted soon.
Māori language (phrases or words) are used, and a glossary of translations aids the non-kiwi reader.

Publishing details?

Hounds of the Underworld © 2017 by Dan Rabarts and Lee Murray
Publisher Raw-Dogs-Screamingof Bowie, MD
First Edition; Printed in the United States of America
Cover Image: Daniele Serra; Book Design: Jennifer Barnes
ISBN: 978-1-935738-96-1

Buy at  Amazon
Read more about Dan and Lee at Red Dog Screaming


More about the Hounds of the Underworld:

 

On the verge of losing her laboratory, her savings, and all respect for herself, Pandora (Penny) Yee lands her first contract as scientific consult to the police department. And with seventeen murder cases on the go, the surly inspector is happy to leave her to it. Only she’s going to need to get around, and that means her slightly unhinged adopted brother, Matiu, will be doing the driving. But something about the case spooks Matiu, something other than the lack of a body in the congealing pool of blood in the locked room or that odd little bowl.

Matiu doesn’t like anything about this case, from the voices that screamed at him when he touched that bowl, to the way his hateful imaginary friend Makere has come back to torment him, to the fact that the victim seems to be tied up with a man from Matiu’s past, a man who takes pleasure in watching dogs tear each other to pieces for profit and entertainment.

Hounds of the Underworld blends mystery, near-future noir and horror. Set in New Zealand it’s the product of a collaboration by two Kiwi authors, one with Chinese heritage and the other Māori. This debut book in The Path of Ra series offers compelling new voices and an exotic perspective on the detective drama.

The Gangster, by Clive Cussler

“He heard footsteps. Then labored breathing. The hoboCUSSLER-C_The Gangster_cover
limped into the trees. He saw Bell, plunged a hand into his coat, and whipped out a knife in a blur of starlight on steel. Run? Thought Bell. Not and turn his back on the knife. He grabbed the heavy satchel to block the knife, and formed a fist.”

My first – but definitely not my last — foray into Cusslers’ works, The Gangster, is a well constructed presentation of the early nineteen-hundreds New York world of the wealthy, the poor; exploited immigrant workers and old school family; gangs and victims; the murderous and the law keepers.

It revolves around the ever-growing enterprise of Branco driving his way up from labourer on the run to the top of the criminal killing chain. His scheming is well spread, well executed, all the while working in secret. His final goal? Well, let me just say…someone as high as you could get in 1906 US.

In his way are the city police and the highly respected Van Dorn Detective Agency, whose top agent Isaac Bell had met Branco years earlier when involved in high jinks while at Yale.

Fast paced, the scene shifts turn the tale to something as close to an action movie as any novel can get, while the Prologue allows new readers such as me (or am I the only one?) an effective introduction to both characters.

This is Cussler’s ninth in the Isaac Bell series, co-authored with Justin Scott (as have been all but the first). I would have appreciated seeing the credits for the art work prefacing sections of the book; they are a perfect “match” to the style and setting.

Published by Michael Joseph imprint of Penguin Random house NZ,

ISBN:
Hardback:  978-0-718-18287-8
Paperback: 978-0-718-18286-1

US Release date: March 1st.
NZ Release is scheduled for April
Reviewed for distributors Booksellers NZ

For earlier  titles in the Isaac Bell series, visit the author’ official site…
http://clive-cussler-books.com/category/books/isaac-bell/

 

All Involved – Ryan GATTIS

All_InvolvedGattis presents, from the points of view of many residents of differing ethnic groups,the actions of gangs and individuals in the area which took advantage of the enraged riot in Los Angeles 1991, to battle as they fought to take revenge, or increase their territory. This new angle gives a gut-wrenching reveal of the gang mentality with its flimsy loyalty, arrogance, and intimidation of members  and public alike.

The book comprises six sections – one for each day of the riots. Within each day, Gatttis lets us see the connections and interactions between seventeen individuals involved – gang members, their partners, wanna-bes, and fire fighters, nurses, law enforcers.

Each section allows the reader to feel the social pressure the individual is under – whether gang or relationship pressure – to conform, to meet demands, to follow the rules and expectations. Horrific consequences face those who go against a gang or gang leader (their own or another). Drugs and pimping are commonplace (though the latter is only briefly included).

We hear their street language. We sweat with the nervous. We tremble with rage at the atrocities. We gulp at the helplessness of those ensnared in this life style. We sympathise. We are in suspense awaiting foretold attacks.
We feel hope for Freer, who makes his escape from the city to try to be “freer”, elsewhere.

(For those of us who’s only knowledge of the Mexican/Hispanic LA community comes from TV shows, there is a Glossary of terms appended to the book.)

The factual background:
On 1991 Monday 29th April, four white officers were acquitted by an all-white jury of ten of all charges laid after they had (sixty-seven days earlier) been caught in an 89-second amateur video, beating the unarmed, intoxicated and uncooperative African-American Rodney King, following a car chase.
Within hours, South-Central Los Angeles exploded in riots, fighting, arson and looting, by folk enraged by the racially biased beating, trial and acquittals Six days of murder and mayhem followed.
(refer http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/riots-erupt-in-los-angeles for further details)
© Even Skrederstu

Evan Skrederstu’s realisation of Freer’s final LA tag, in memory of Ernie
© Even Skrederstu
(cropped by Red-Penn)

For an extensive examination of the novel’s back ground,
visit http://www.lariotsallinvolved.com/

Picador for  Pan MacMillan
Publisher Picador for
Pan MacMillan

ISBN: 978-1-4472-8318-8 paperback

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