by Matt Ruff
This was a weird trippy story, funny and disturbed from the title on down. The narrative loops around on itself (okay, that was a lie; those drugs don’t exist) and questions its own believability. If you are a sucker for an unreliable narrator, you’ll have to read this book, because Jane Charlotte is your girl.
Janes’s story is fascinating. Paranoia? Check. Delusions and self sabotage? Check. Insane (insanely clever?) bureaucracy — with units named things like “The Department for the Final Disposition of Irredeemable Persons”? Check.
Ruff manages to ask some interesting and serious questions along the way. What’s evil? What about redemption? What should you be doing with your life? His characters make a distinction between fighting crime and fighting evil, and it doesn’t seem like splitting hairs.
If you like near future or alternate reality stories, want off kilter and a fast pace, I highly recommend Bad Monkeys. If you are like me, you’ll find yourself wanting parts of Ruff’s world to be real, then wondering what it says about you that you think that. Also: if mandrills didn’t creep you out before, now they will.
This is apparently the fourth book Ruff has written. I’ll be on the lookout for the previous three, and I eagerly await the next one, which he’s writing now.