Publication: 11 January from Orion/ 16 Jan Harcourt Mifflin Harcourt
Do you ever think there’s maybe something that’s gone wrong with the world?’
A man is found dead in one of the city’s luxury homes. Homicide detective Ross Carver arrives at the scene when six FBI agents burst in and forcibly remove him from the premises.
Two days later…
Carver wakes in his bed to find Mia a neighbour he’s hardly ever spoken to, reading aloud to him. He has no recollection of the crime scene, no memory of how he got home, and no idea that two days have passed.
Carver knows nothing about this woman but as he struggles to piece together what happened to him, he soon realizes he’s involved himself in a web of conspiracy that spans the nation.
And Mia just might know more than she’s letting on…
The Night Market is the third in Jonathan Moore’s San Francisco trilogy. The first, The Poison Artist was a novel with the atmosphere of a 1930’s Hollywood film noir. Dark and suspenseful, it is richly atmospheric and the writing seductively draws you in to the tale. The second, The Dark Room, was a a dark tale of murder, privilege and unspeakable cruelty, told in rich and compelling prose.
Now the last part of the trilogy is a similarly dark, and this time, dystopian tale. The Night Market is a crime thriller, set in the not too distant future and lays out a plausible and very chilling future where our wants and desires are not just fuelled by advertising but positively driven by it.
The three books are loosely connected and it doesn’t matter which order you read them in. Each has a distinctive style and each a different look at San Francisco.
I grabbed this book from Netgalley as soon as I saw it because Jonathan Moore’s writing is so noir it positively oozes black treacle. His San Francisco is redolent with atmosphere, has beautiful prose and cleverly weaves a plot that will take you places you simply did not expect to go. But when you get there, boy are you glad you did!
Ross Carver and his partner Jenner attend a murder scene in one of the city’s few remaining luxury homes. The dead body is like nothing they have ever seen before. It is covered in a slimy grey substance that seems to be eating the body from within. Before they have a chance to investigate the FBI turns up clad in biohazard suits and they are ordered out of the building and into a mobile decontamination unit. Carver wakes up three days later at home in bed with no memory of at all of that night’s events. Mia, a neighbour, is sitting reading to him and has been caring for him. Mia is an elusive figure who seldom goes out and has no technology in her apartment, but she does appear to have Ross’s welfare at heart.
As Carver attempts to piece together the events of that Thursday night he will draw his partner, his neighbour Mia and others into the heart of a deadly conspiracy that impacts on the lives of everyone in San Francisco and beyond.
Moore’s tale is a savage one where the divide between the rich and poor is more stark than at any time. Copper wiring is stripped from street lights by scavengers hoping to make a few dollars and leading to the streets becoming even more dangerous. Fights break out in designer boutiques over transient luxury goods.
The Night Market is a tale about consumerism gone wild; about how technology can be harnessed for disturbing purposes and how, if we are not careful, our addiction to our devices will soon have our devices driving our desires. This dystopian future is not today, but it could so easily be tomorrow and that’s what makes it so frightening.
For Carver, the archetypal homicide detective, this is a world he doesn’t quite recognise, but will quickly have to find out about as even his own police force is being controlled by those who would control not just the city but the country.
The Night Market is a fabulous addition to the triptych and Jonathan Moore’s writing is so good and so vibrant that you feel as if you have had a bath in warm chocolate after you have read it.
I thoroughly recommend each of these books, though I think, in the end, the Night Market may be my favourite.
About Jonathan Moore
Jonathan is an attorney with the Honolulu firm of Kobayashi, Sugita & Goda. Before completing law school in New Orleans, he was an English teacher, the owner of Taiwan’s first Mexican restaurant, and an investigator for a criminal defence attorney in Washington D.C. He is the author of two previous novels, Close Reach and Redheads, which was short-listed for the Bram Stoker Award.
Find out more at jonathanmoorefiction.com and follow Jonathan on Twitter @JonMooreFiction