Friday, December 07, 2012

The Diviners, by Libba Bray

It is the Roaring Twenties and Evie is a totally modern gal, which is why live in boring Ohio is unbearable.  And why being sent to New York City to live with her uncle is a dream come true.  New York is the city where it's at -- gin joints, hopping jazz, fashionable people -- just the place for a gal who wants to have some fun!

However, New York is also full of strange and evil things.  A murderer is loose in the city and engaged in a series of ritual murders.  Evie's uncle, an expert on the occult, has been consulting for the police and very quickly Evie herself gets drawn into the investigation.  Teamed up with a series of paranormally-enhanced and gin-addled friends, they are on the hunt.  The question is whether they can stop the killer before he manages to end the world.

It's Libba Bray's typical collection of crazy and wild ideas, which combine supernatural thriller with pulp fiction detective novel.  Bray has infused the story with a lot of detail, but there's no escaping the sheer corniness of the setting, which is part Ghostbusters and part Dick Tracy.  Either way, this extremely long tome (578 pages, you chumps!) is more cinema than literature -- light and airy, and largely insubstantial.  Obviously, since I read the whole thing, I can't have felt like it sucked, but it lacked the fun of Beauty Queens and ultimately seemed pretty silly.  And the last forty pages of the book existed merely to pave the way for an unnecessary sequel, while avoiding any sort of closure.

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