& # 39; Someone Like Me, & # 39; by M.R. Carey book review

Writers who switch from script-strips to writing test novels are very few in between. (Though many novelists – Jonathan Lethem, Michael Chabon, and G. Willow Wilson, Brad Meltzer – have been drawn in the opposite direction.) Apart from Denny O'Neil ("Green Lantern / Green Arrow"), Gerry Conway (" Spider-Man ") and Chris Claremont (" X-Men "), the main example is Neil Gaiman, whose early brilliance in the comic strip was somewhat overshadowed by his best-selling books.

M.R. Carey recorded two hits early in his own comic career, calling himself "Lucifer" and "Hellblazer" for legendary stints, and continues to produce excellent work for the Vertigo line. But in 2006 he ventured into novel writing, and that outlet seems to have become his main means of expression. With the success of 2014 & # 39; The Girl With All the Gifts & # 39; and the screen customization can safely tell you that he, like Gaiman, is a novelist who does comics, instead of a comics man who roams in novels.

His latest book, "Someone Like Me," is a ghostly, roaring, exciting ghost story-cum-thriller that manages to give a fresh, almost science-fictional twist to his ghosts and spirits. It is domestic – no global armageddons or apocalypse here, no burning cities or plague-ridden communities – yet it delivers the maximum freight of fears and consequences.

We open up with a gut-churning scene of husbands abuse that quickly reveals Carey's talent for sleek, economical and compelling prose. Liz Kendall is defeated by her ex-husband Marc, a well-known ordeal. But this time there is something else. Obeyed a strange compelling voice in her head – strange, but intimate and resonant – Liz fights back. She makes Mare incompetent, the police come, Liz comforts her two children, 16-year-old Zac and 6-year-old Molly, and life seems to return to an even keel.

Or right?

By obeying that inner demon, Liz opened herself to a sort of paranormal attack, an attack that was insidiously focused on her identity. Who is the demon? That information is a small spoiler of about the quarter in the book: the rider in Liz's brain is herself – but an avatar from another timeline, in which Marc managed to kill his wife. Call her a spirit of the multiverse. This version of Liz baptizes herself Beth and she has plans for the body she lends to – plans that do not offer much good for the original tenant.

Liz at the same time as the story of Liz is the story of a 16-year-old African American girl named Fran Watts. When she was a toddler, Fran was kidnapped by the deranged Bruno Picota and detained in the nearby Perry Friendly Motel. Alternately gibbering about supernatural issues and threatening to put Fran to death, Bruno's dark plans were hampered by the police. Fran, who has been rehabilitated with her widower father, has since suffered a kind of PTSD and has been constantly in therapy. Our stable world is changeable for Fran. Small things shift and stagger. But more consistently she left behind with the invisible presence of a totem-like animal protector, Jinx the fox of war. Sometimes Jinx is the only thing that keeps Fran going.

It does not take long before the storylines interweave, because Fran is classmate with Zac and the two dissatisfied individuals form a bond. While the teenagers start to hang out together, Fran uses her unique perceptions and detects the property that plagues her friend's mother: evidence of the corrupting influence of Beth. Ultimately, the intangible wrestling of Beth with Liz will result in murder, assault and many other misdeeds. Fran will meanwhile begin to bury the buried truths from her own past. And the runaway train with hooked events will culminate in a decisive deadly battle amidst the ruins of the Perry Friendly Motel.

Carey cements form the essential basis for the mysterious acts by defining the two families as real and credible. As a single mother Liz & # 39; s disregards for herself and her protection against her children, just like the joshing and yet humorous humor of Gil, the father of Fran, who has to raise a damaged daughter herself. There are surprisingly few additional characters for a book of this size – Fran & # 39; s therapist, dr. Southern, a sympathetic female agent named Beebee, ex-hubby Marc, his new partner Jamie, crazy Bruno – but they all benefit from Carey's careful portraits. The two spirits, Beth and, to a lesser extent, Jinx, emerge as beings who understandably are distorted by their immaterial status, but who still possess a core of general humanity that motivates them in empathable ways. Similarly, the relationship between Zac and Fran shows a unique veracity that resembles that of a John Green novel.

Having built up this very solid phase for its supernatural action, Carey does not stop with the unpredictable chills and an irreconcilable, unstoppable waterfall of events leading to its peak – everything is sharpened by juxtaposing the boring and everyday location, a very solid made Pittsburgh. Along the way there are many moments of tenderness and humor, leavened with pop culture riffs: The children wonder if Liz will be one of the ring-wraiths of Tolkien; Bruno is called the Shadowman and links him to the infamous Slim man of the recent headlines; and does the strip "Hellblazer" contain answers? Never has the cliché "possession is nine-tenths of the law" used as a more macabre battle line.

Finally, Carey's novel adds the completed ranks of Paul Tremblay's "A Head Full of Ghosts" and "Tim Powers" Alternate Routes "together as a 21st-century reconsideration of the eternal nature of spirits. the much-mentioned "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" as an allegory of inner subversion, wrong paths and the distortion of identity – existential crises that are the ghostly phantoms of modernity.

Paul Di Filippo & # 39; scrime novel "The Deadly Kiss-Off" will be released in April 2019.


By M.R. Carey

Job. 512 pp. $ 26.