My Main Man Michael Marshall Smith

So I was all droopy and restless about what to read before Thanksgiving. I decided to reread something good, and went on the library website to see what I could get instantly as an ebook, so I started searching the names of my favourite authors.

So kind of funny thing about this author. I read this really cool science fiction book ages ago - it was called Only Forward and it was by Michael Marshall Smith, who I'd never heard of before. It was sort of part Blade Runner, part noir detective story and I really liked it. He only had a couple of other science fiction books, and I'm not sure if I even read them, although I meant to.

Years went by. I had a kid. That kid broke his leg while I was pregnant with a second kid. It was a stressful time. My parents came to help out and sent me out for a night of coffee shop and book store therapy. I came across this paperback mystery. Do you ever pick up a book, read the title and synopsis and just feel like it's going to be really good? Honestly, I never really have faith in that feeling because it's so easy to be misled, but I had that feeling immediately with this book, and I also noted that the author's name was Michael Marshall and wondered idly if it might be the same guy with the Smith lopped off.

I came home and read the book and was completely smitten - I love dark mysteries, and this was that with a little extra imaginative spin on it. It totally took my mind off the head-spinning shit show of having a two-year-old in diapers wearing a body cast. In fact, I wrote the author (it was the same one) a fan email - one of only three I've ever written. And he wrote back, and was lovely and gracious.

His publisher had reduced his name by a third because this was more of a mystery and for some reason they thought it should have a different name from his science fiction. I don't really care, I just think he's a standout as an author - original like it's really hard to be in a sea of fiction, smart and funny and with a wonderful ear for realistic dialogue. In my fan letter I wrote that I felt like his work was "suffused with a kind of hopeful melancholy" which he said he really liked.

So over Thanksgiving I reread Bad Things. Then I reread We Are Here, which features two of the characters from Bad Things, which I didn't realize the first time I read it because they came out three years apart and I read about a hundred books a year so unless BOOK TWO IN WHATEVER SERIES is emblazoned across the cover I miss stuff like that on the regular. Then I was desperate to reread The Straw Men, which was that very book I bought when Angus had the broken leg. I went to the shelf. I had the second two books in the trilogy. Clearly I had very ill-advisedly lent out the first one and never gotten it back. Well, no problem, I'd get it from the library, or order another copy from Indigo or Amazon. Except, no, because Michael Marshall Smith is British, no problem, I love the British -  crumpets, clotted cream, sticky wickets, big fan - but it makes his books INFURIATINGLY hard to source. EXCEPT except, the second and third books in the trilogy are actually available. Just not the first.

*head explodes*

So I spent the next few days buying up every available reasonably priced copy of everything I could find, and I'm waiting for my used copy of The Straw Men to arrive because I'll be goddamned if I will be prevented from reading some MMS whenever I freaking well feel like it. His short stories are also wonderful.

So there you go. It's not for the faint of heart, and it has a whiff of the supernatural, which judging by the Goodreads reviews some people really don't like. One reader also termed "cocky sarcasm" what I considered easy wit, so, tomato tomahto. And good luck finding The Straw Men. If you borrow mine I'm going to need collateral - possibly a hostage.

Comments

E. said…
Sounds like books I should read right away! Also, may I recommend bookdepository.com for British (and other) books? They do free shipping worldwide in quite reasonable timeframes, and seem to carry The Straw Men, for example. Decent prices, comparable to our online stores in Canada.
Bibliomama said…
Yes! Thank-you - I believe I've used them through Abebooks, which is a clearinghouse type thing for used books in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.
Nicole said…
A two-year old in diapers wearing a body cast - I stared at that sentence for a long, long time.

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