Matt Heckler, of the sci-fi blog Android Dreamer, published a review of Under the Amoral Bridge a few weeks ago. I've been meaning to post about it but haven't had much of a chance over the last few weeks. I want to thank Matt for the great review! Read more about the review after the jump.
Matt gave the book an overall grade of B-. Here is an excerpt.
The plot really is the strong point of the book. It is a bit slow early on, but once it finds its feet it becomes a really fun, pulpy, action-packed romp. There's a political angle to it, a nihilist bent, and a little bit of a moral to the story, though I think it is left to the reader to take from it what they will. I think that is a mark of strong writing.
If I had to cite one weakness of the book, it's the main character. He isn't necessarily a bad character, but I think he could be better. In many ways, he reminds me of the street rats Philip Marlowe of Raymond Chandler's novels would pay off for information. There is a catch-phrase throughout the book of "I know a guy" and frankly, it gets pretty corny. Bridge isn't really that likable, but he does serve the purpose of carrying the narrative, which I think is the most important part of the novel. On the other hand, I think the supporting characters were strong. I especially liked Aristotle, Bridge's philosopher/bodyguard, kind of a Michael Clarke Duncan meets Henry David Thoreau.
Matt is spot on with his description of Bridge as a Chandler-esque street rat. There were points in writing the first novel that I felt I could have had Bridge be a more active, physical participant but deliberately did not. Bridge is all about surviving no matter who else gets hurt or how he does it. He's not about physical confrontation and that is such a perfect description of a very conscious choice on my part about Bridge's character. As the series goes on, Bridge will be taking more of an active role, but he'll never be the kind of protagonist who acts on his own. I hope Matt enjoys The Know Circuit as much if not more than he did the first novel.