Book review: The Night Mayor by Kim Newman

by Steve Green

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Titan Books, April 2015, £7.99

Ridley Scott has a lot to answer for: ever since Blade Runner melded Chandler and Dick into a template for the literary hybrid thence dubbed ‘Cyberpunk’, we’ve been deluged by film noir pastiches masquerading as science fiction.

Kim Newman’s 1988 stroll through the rain-soaked backlot is better than some, but its basic premise — government agents chasing a criminal genius through a construct of his own mind, reminiscent of Christopher Priest’s A Dream of Wessex — rapidly degenerates into a conveyor belt of cinematic references. Remarkably, the one element which distinguished so many of the films Newman salutes in this slim novel — suspense — is sorely lacking, blunting the narrative’s edge and leaving us with what is little more than an extended in-joke.

 

[Titan’s new paperback edition is available here. There is also a version for Kindle, here.]