If ever there was a novel screaming, ‘Adapt me!’, Adam Christopher’s Empire State is surely it. It’s so filled with iconic imagery running the whole gamut from rocketeer superheroes to noir-punk dirigibles, fedora-toting gumshoes to sizzling dimension-disruptors, I’d be surprised if we don’t see it converted in fairly short measure into either a graphic novel, computer game or big-budget movie. Possibly all three.
That’s not to say it’s not splendid in its original book form. As a debut novel, it’s sassy and confident, and positively oozing creative juices. Ostensibly a mash-up of noir detective conventions and science fiction parallel worldness, it’s actually a cunningly crafted mystery with more plot twists and deceptive reflections than a funhouse mirror maze.
The story tracks the progress of private detective Rad Bradley, who begins with the usual challenges of missing persons and murder, only to find himself digging ever-deeper into the strange truth about the city in which he lives. The city in question is called Empire State, and it bears more than a passing resemblance to a certain New York City. Rad soons learns that the world he lives in is not so much a world as a reflection of one, and that if he’s to solve the riddle of ironclads returning from the war and robots roaming the rain-soaked streets, he might just be forced to take a look at what’s on the other side of the mirror.
Empire State is available in both paper and electronic versions and is deviously cool.