FREE E-BOOKS: Download The Dewey Decimal System and The Mercury Fountain for free through Sunday, May 10!
This week marks the release of The Immune System by Nathan Larson, the explosive final installment in his Dewey Decimal crime-fiction trilogy, and Love Maps by Eliza Factor, a unique look at love, violence, and the roots of creativity.
Want to know how these stories began? Download copies of The Dewey Decimal System — Nathan Larson’s introduction to his ravaged, postapocalyptic city-state — and The Mercury Fountain — Eliza Factor’s debut novel and inspiration for Love Maps — for absolutely free, right here:
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Selected by Ransom Notes: the Barnes & Noble Mystery Blog as one of the Best Series Debuts of 2011
“A nameless investigator dogs New York streets made even meaner by a series of near-future calamities. [Larson’s] dystopia is bound to win fans . . .”
“The Dewey Decimal System is a winningly tight, concise and high-impact book, a violent, exhilarating odyssey that pitches its protagonist through a gratuitously detailed future New York.”
—New York Press
After a flu pandemic, a large-scale terrorist attack, and the total collapse of Wall Street, New York City is reduced to a shadow of its former self. As the city struggles to dig itself out of the wreckage, a nameless, obsessive-compulsive veteran with a spotty memory, a love for literature, and a strong if complex moral code (that doesn’t preclude acts of extreme violence) has taken up residence at the main branch of the New York Public Library on 42nd Street.
Dubbed “Dewey Decimal” for his desire to reorganize the library’s stock, our protagonist (who will reappear in the next novel in this series) gets by as bagman and muscle for New York City’s unscrupulous district attorney. Decimal takes no pleasure in this kind of civic dirty work. He’d be perfectly content alone amongst his books. But this is not in the cards, as the DA calls on Dewey for a seemingly straightforward union-busting job.
What unfolds throws Dewey into a bloody tangle of violence, shifting allegiances, and old vendettas, forcing him to face the darkness of his own past, and the question of his buried identity.
With its high body count and snarky dialogue, The Dewey Decimal System pays respects to Chandler, Hammett, and Jim Thompson. Healthy amounts of black humor and speculative tendencies will appeal to fans of Charlie Huston, Nick Tosches, Duane Swierczynski, and Jonathan Lethem.
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“Eliza Factor’s first novel, The Mercury Fountain, explores what happens when a life driven by ideology confronts implacable truths of science and human nature. It also shows how leaders can inflict damage by neglecting the real needs of real people. Though the action takes place between 1900 and 1923, the resonance feel alarmingly contemporary . . . Factor counters convention with a sharp sense of character, evocative subplots and the dangerous allure of mercury itself.”
—New York Times Book Review (Editor’s Choice)
“Factor develops her characters in entertaining ways while building a novel of social realism.”
The Mercury Fountain takes place at the turn of the twentieth-century in a remote and beautiful stretch of Chihuahuan desert near the border of West Texas and Mexico. Owen Scraperton, a passionate Yankee seeking to atone for his misspent youth, leaves the comforts of Boston’s Beacon Hill for a fresh start in the wilderness. The story follows Owen’s pursuits as he struggles to establish Pristina, a utopian community that attempts to resolve the great questions of labor and race by upholding the ideals of “clarity, unity, and purpose.” The economic foundation of this new world is based on the mining of mercury, a metal that Owen upholds for its usefulness, fluidity, and beauty, while disregarding its darker and more harmful aspects. Although Owen’s thinking may not always be rational, his heart is sincere, and his voice is rich and seductive. He attracts followers from both the Northeast and the local population, just the heterogeneous mix he needs to test his social theories.
But a dark cloud gathers over Pristina soon after Owen’s marriage to Dolores, a Mexican beauty from an impoverished aristocratic family. While Owen is deeply in love with her, Dolores quickly becomes dismayed by her predicament. She had thought she was marrying an American millionaire who would take her on trips to Paris, but instead finds herself stranded in the desert and cut off from the civilization she so yearns to be a part of. As the mercury market bottoms out, Dolores can only find solace in her burgeoning friendship with Badinoe, the town’s cynical and hard-drinking doctor, and soon musters enough courage for an act of defiance against Owen that divides the community’s allegiances.
Entering into this combustible mix is the birth of their only child Victoria, a remarkably talented girl who inherits her father’s romanticism and her mother’s independence. Owen grooms Victoria to be the inheritor of Pristina, a role she embraces with zest and earnestness. Yet this ardor will be Owen’s downfall. As age, love, and experience cause Owen to modify his original vision, Victoria remains true to Pristina’s founding principles—setting them up for a major conflict that captures the imagination of the entire town.
A sweeping epic that blends the noirish sensibilities of Cormac McCarthy with the seductive language of Gabriel García Márquez, and featuring an unforgettable protagonist who would be at home next to Daniel Day-Lewis in the film There Will Be Blood, The Mercury Fountaincombines realistic modern writing with elements from American and Greco-Roman mythology, taking its cue from Mercury, the most slippery and mischievous of gods, who rules over science, commerce, eloquence, and thievery.
Posted: May 5, 2015
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