36 Streets (Titan Books, February 8, 2022). Cover by Shutterstock
Here’s one that came out a while ago, but I just caught up with recently: 36 Streets, the debut novel by Australian T.R. Napper.
It’s got a Blade Runner/Cyberpunk vibe, and an armload of great notices: Grimdark Magazine calls it “brilliantly realized SF noir,” Publishers Weekly proclaims it “A gripping near-future cyberthriller with plenty of action and intrigue,” and SciNow sums it up as “a deeply textured vision of the future brimming with new and inventive ideas… a gripping sci-fi thriller.”
Sounds like my kind of debut. I snapped up a copy on my last trip to Barnes & Noble. Here’s a snippet from that Grimdark review by Adrian Collins.
Lin Thi Vu is a bounty hunter working for the most feared gangster in Ha Noi. She works her trade in a cyberpunk future Vietnam where the Chinese have invaded and taken over the region and the people of Ha Noi and the 36 streets are pawns butchered between the Chinese military and the Viet Minh.
Tired of doing jobs for the Chinese rooting out Viet Minh guerrillas, Lin requests a different type of job. Her boss instructs her to act the part of a private detective for a westerner, her Australian English making her the right person for the job. She’s person to trust in a city of people who look like her, but speak differently. Only her job isn’t just to do the job, it’s to take all of the westerners money.
Straight off the bat Lin is gritty and hard and ruthless, but with a burnt and blackened yet unbroken soul, a bit like Kameron Hurley’s Nyx. Her ice-seven drug addiction adds an interesting and desperate edge to her character, while her memories of her Australian adoptive mother raising her in a foreign land (Australia) and then returning to Viet Nam as an outsider adds an excellent angle to her character and really brings the author’s knowledge of a complex Asia Pacific region region and the people living in it to the fore…. This is the kind of book that’s good enough and short enough that plenty of people are going to read it in one day.
In 36 Streets, Napper brings a Richard K. Morgan style SF noir detective story onto the streets of Vietnam. It’s an excellent, morose, beautiful in the horror of life, brutal, action packed, and gorgeous read. 36 Streets is refreshing, and brilliantly realised SF noir.
36 Streets was published by Titan Books on February 8, 2022. It is 429 pages, priced at $15.95 in trade paperback and $9.99 in digital formats. The cover is by Shutterstock. Get all the details here.
See all our recent New Treasures here.