Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann
|Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann|
|Category: General Fiction|
|Reviewer: Luke Marlowe|
|Summary: George Mann writes a fantastic mash up that combines noir detectives, steampunk science, Batman like heroes and HP Lovecraft like monsters. A fast paced and thrilling ride, this is a promising start to a new series|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: September 2014|
|Publisher: Titan Books|
|External links: Author's website|
New York City - 1926.
A world not quite as we know it. America is locked into a cold war with the British Empire, cars are coal powered and prohibition is still in place across New York. A series of horrific murders are committed throughout the city, and the overworked police force are already overworked dealing with the gangsters and criminals that fill the city.
What is needed, is a hero. And that hero is...The Ghost
George Mann is an author already well loved for both his Sherlock Holmes novels, and his Newbury and Hobbs series. Newbury and Hobbs takes place in a steam punk Victorian world - Ghosts of Manhattan feels like a story set in that universe, but instead of the fantastical Victorian world full of science and adventure, we are plunged into a dark and grimy 1920's. Criminals are on every street corner, the police are struggling for dominance, and the skies are filled with biplanes and Zeppelins.
Mann has created a fascinating world, detailed and rich. So much so in fact, that I was slightly disappointed given the origins of the cold war between America and the British Empire. However, the New York in this book is instantly familiar to anyone who enjoys tales about gangsters and jazz singers etc.
The characters are fairly obvious - the superhero, the wealthy playboy who may or may not be the hero, the feisty and seductive jazz singer, the snitch, the overworked but loyal policeman etc. Whilst using these stock characters may seem fairly original, this is a book that uses them to maximum potential, and the whole thing comes across as a love letter to early Batman comics and HP Lovecraft.
The switch from detective story to supernatural thriller may have come as a shock to some, but it absolutely worked for me, and given that characters such as Donovan and Celeste seem to be drawn straight from Lovecraft, I was prepared for a twist of the tentacled variety.
Fast paced and thrilling, I truly enjoyed Ghosts of Manhattan. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, as I really believe that George Mann has created a world that is ripe for further exploration. Some characters could perhaps have done with a little more development, and I did find the final few climactic chapters somewhat rushed. All in all though, a great read.
Many thanks to Titan Books for the copy.
George Mann has a very enjoyable back catalogue of books - I'd recommend his Newbury and Hobbes series, and also his Sherlock Holmes novels. One in particular, Sherlock Holmes - The Spirit Box, which much like Ghosts of Manhattan, combines a detective story with elements of the supernatural.
For those intrigued by the Noire style of Ghosts of Manhattan, Dashiel Hammett was the master of grim, gritty detective tales, specifically The Thin Man, and The Return of the Thin Man.
And if you're particularly intrigued by the monsters and supernatural elements glimpsed in the book, pick up some HP Lovecraft. It's all completely mad, very dark and absolutely marvellous.
You can read more book reviews or buy Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Ghosts of Manhattan by George Mann at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.