Van H. Avram, PI, stumbles from case to case, getting by on his good looks and appeal to desperate dames. But when a missing-person case dumps the body of a skinny blond thing on his doorstep, he finds himself plummeting into the clutches of an underworld intent on human sacrifice. An underworld of biblical origin.
An ancient evil rises up to destroy the world and, without asking for it, Van is thrust into the role of savior. As reality--and the occasional building--collapses around him, he's chased, battered and seduced by demons, vampires and unhinged women, all against a background of a war-ravished world wrapped up in vintage fashions and flying diesel-powered vehicles.
Time ticks down to a do-or-die moment as the fate of the universe is decided in one final battle. But to save the universe, Van must face his own demons and an unremembered past.
For fans of Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, and Douglas Adams.
Lingane provides a jewel of a work as sultry client Mina Carmilla pits jaded gumshoe Van H. Avram against vampires determined to finish off humanity by attacking women. The dialogue and atmosphere of social decay brilliantly evoke Raymond Chandler, while the allurements of available women recall Mickey Spillane. Although the second half is slower-paced, the omnipresent wit and pulpish tone provide the whodunnit genre fan familiar delights. The ending departs strangely from the detective motif, but Lingane's quirky atmosphere and vividly drawn main character will engage even the casual reader.
Date Submitted: September 19, 2016
Snappy, funny noir mashes up with vampires and unholy ritual in this entertaining caper - 5 stars.
Van H. Avram doesn’t know much about vampires, but he does know about women. They seem to follow him everywhere: skinny, blond, dead women who appear to have had the very life sucked out of their bodies. As evidence explodes and strange dogs attack him, Avram is forced, reluctantly, to concede that something supernatural may be afoot. In fact, if things get any weirder, he may have to conclude that he’s at the very center of it all.Steeped in 1950s PI glamour, it’s not hard to see the influence of Raymond Chandler in this energetic book. But Sucker also recalls Douglas Adams’s Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, both in the absurdity of Avram’s interactions with his clientele and the cosmic implications of the cases he addresses out of his run-down yet barely affordable office. The book isn’t afraid to venture into overt goofiness, and in fact, this courage often invests it with a campy appeal that belies its complicated thematic mixture of noir, horror, and comedy.Armchair detectives will enjoy Sucker’s merry chase and strict adherence to the rules of its own universe. However, the story also leaves several loose ends untied, including a few baffling peripheral characters whose existence is never fully explained. It’s fairly easy to rationalize these based on clues present within the text, but readers who like their novels watertight may find that these little issues injure the book’s otherwise excellent polish.Several of the people who surround Avram seem like stock characters at first introduction but quickly develop into unique and unusual creatures born completely of the book’s own world. The book’s depiction of women as lusty vixens may strike some feminist readers as problematic, though others may consider this is a wink to classic pulp fiction. Even when inhabiting this gray area, Sucker’s characters are fun to watch, even when not completely believable.Stylistically, the book mimics the hard-bitten noir of the 1950s, but it updates linguistic and social conventions to better suit a modern audience. This choice works well, helping to imbue the book with sophistication that would have been absent in a straightforward homage to the genre. Sucker also adroitly handles enormous, even existential reveals in such a way that they fit into their context and remain surprising.The potential audience for this book is broad. Science fiction, fantasy, and mystery fans are all likely to be on board from the first page, especially those who have been prepped by the recent popularity of silly-seeming, but ultimately high-quality, genre-crossing titles like Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. However, anyone who enjoys religiously inclined fiction while simultaneously wishing that the subgenre took itself less seriously will enjoy this imaginative romp.
Author Mark Lingane is back with a brilliant humorous mashup fantasy-sci-fi-Noir, “Sucker.” - 5 stars.
Private eye Van H. Avram is your typical Mickey Spillane throwback, just about getting away with doing his job in some kind of chaotic way. But all that changes when a mysterious “skinny blond” corpse is dumped on his doorstep, opening a door into the seedy underbelly of a world of human sacrifices and ancient lores that might just end civilization as we know it. Suddenly, Avram will have to step up as the hero, and save not just the day, but the entire world. But this might be a huge leap for the PI, who is struggling with his concept of reality as vampiric dames, demons and crazy ladies seem to chase him around a steampunk kind of town with a post-apocalyptic feel. With Avram be able to overcome his own problems to tackle probably the most important case he’ll ever face? This race against time tale will tell.Sucker is something of a Bladerunner-style novel, but it has a distinctBugsy Malone humor to it, with vampires to boot. As usual, Lingane has managed to throw a bunch of genres at the wall and they have melded beautifully into this universe where he is the creator of some pretty amazing sequences. There is a smattering of Michael Moorcock’s Cornelius Chronicles here, where dry humor and wit serve as bedmates to gory supernatural happenings and the twisting of reality. It’s hard to say exactly who would enjoy this book in particular, and actually who wouldn’t, because there’s a whole new ambience going on here that has the sense of a new audience being formed, a new genre being formed somehow. Yes, Lingane is that good. It shows that he is a well-traveled, far-flung discoverer in real life, because descriptions seem full and well-wrought. Although we’ve been fans of this author all along, there’s something even more quirky and interesting when you juxtapose real historical elements, at that, such strong iconic ones, to form a story like this one.There’s a Sin City narration to the prose that comic book fans will love, and some real corkers of one-liners (Just open the first page on Amazon to get a load of them, and a sense of what’s to come):Her bedroom eyes were framed by curls, half of which were tied up with a hairpin the shape of a broken heart.“You dress for cocktails.” I said.“You dress like a hobo. You like cocktails?”I shrugged. “I like free.”Lingane should do a series of these; Avram is a great character and it would be a shame to lose him after this one: he’s like Bogart on some kind of spacey drug in a distant-planet bar, with a hint of Sherlock Holmes and a dash of Bob Arctor. Thoroughly recommended to anyone who enjoys a detective novel with a twist, or for that matter, anyone with a penchant for escapism.
On March 9, SUCKER became Mark Lingane's first best seller, reaching the top of Amazon's Dark Humor charts. Sales and critical reception has been exceptional, spawning considerable interest in creating an on-going series.
- Insync Holdings
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Insync Books
+61 467 531 718
Sucker named Foreword Reviews’ 2015 INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards Finalist
Brisbane, Queensland—Today, Insync Books is pleased to announce Sucker has been recognized as a finalist in the 18th annual Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, in two categories: Humour and Horror. Here is the complete list:
Each year, Foreword Reviews shines a light on a select group of indie publishers, university presses, and self-published authors whose work stands out from the crowd. In the next three months, a panel of more than 100 volunteer librarians and booksellers will determine the winners in 63 categories based on their experience with readers and patrons.
“The 2015 INDIEFAB finalist selection process is as inspiring as it is rigorous,” said Victoria Sutherland, publisher of Foreword Reviews. “The strength of this list of finalists is further proof that small, independent publishers are taking their rightful place as the new driving force of the entire publishing industry.”
"We are proud to be associated with the INDIEFAB awards, and thrilled to be selected for the second year," Insync added.
Foreword Reviews will celebrate the winners during a program at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida in June. We will also name the Editor’s Choice Prize 2015 for Fiction, Nonfiction and Foreword Reviews’ 2015 INDIEFAB Publisher of the Year Award during the presentation.
About us: Insync Books publishes offbeat science fiction and fantasy.
About Foreword: Foreword Magazine, Inc is a media company featuring a Folio:-award-winning quarterly print magazine, Foreword Reviews, and a website devoted to independently published books. In the magazine, they feature reviews of the best 170 new titles from independent publishers, university presses, and noteworthy self-published authors. Their website features daily updates: reviews along with in-depth coverage and analysis of independent publishing from a team of more than 100 reviewers, journalists, and bloggers. The print magazine is available at most Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million newsstands or by subscription. You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest. They are headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan, USA.
Self Publishing Review listed Sucker in their favorite indie books of 2015. The short list of eight were selected from thousands of titles submitted each year to the site. This takes Sucker's award tally to two.
Sucker, featured by PW and given rave reviews from the top tier review sites, has won it's first award. Prestigeous UK review site, the Bookbag has listed it in their annual top ten best of the year list. Mark Lingane was fortunate to land two books in the top ten indie book list, Sucker and Fusion, the concluding chapter of his Tesla Evolution series.