Books play an important role in Doug Lucas’s The Man in the Mountain. In fact, there must be a mountain of book references, both real and imaginary, as the FBI chase drug lords chasing undercover agents chasing witnesses chasing… etc. Everybody reads, just as everybody lies in the TV series House and the self-referential humor and irony remind me of watching Castle.
Wild chases through landscapes familiar to the characters from books, to the reader from reading, lead to a man living in a glorious mountain hideout—filled with guns and books—till the wily detective at last “had his rabbit in sight, he was almost sure it was the rabbit of choice and it was rabbit season.” Everyone’s hunting a different prey, seeking to make sense of emotions, and either reading or writing, or doing both at once.
The humor’s a little slow and heavy for my tastes, filled with detail and explanation, but it’s hard not to smile when yet another book appears. From Sherlock Holmes to military manuals to cook books and more, they tumble off the page. But “Marcy----if you can cook like that, why the hell are you a hooker?” asks Deanna, and I wonder too—too much explanation sometimes and then too little, so you know all will be made clear—Marcy retells the story of her childhood like a memoir till “her actions had an I’m through talking, this hurts look.”
From flood to floodgates, mountain to overlord, criminal to master detective, the pages are filled with locations and characters, action and explanation, and ever, always, books. An interesting novel—I kind of wish I’d got a more edited version, though perhaps the odd word choices and unfinished chapter endings just meant the fictional author was still working on it. Not a quick read, but certainly a fascinating concept.
Disclosure: I was lucky enough to hear when this ebook was offered free and got an early copy.