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Nathan Larson’s THE NERVOUS SYSTEM On Shelves Today
Dewey Decimal, the amnesiac post-apocalypse obsessive-compulsive P.I., returns in his second novel.
Nathan Larson comes with a pretty high pedigree. Not only did he used to play bass for D.C. hardcore band Swiz and then guitar for Shudder to Think, he also composed the scores of such films as Choke, Margin Call, and Our Idiot Brother. And for the last couple of years, he’s been writing speculative-detective fiction.
I know, what a big show-off, huh?
Well, when you’ve got it, you’ve got it, and Larson’s got it. Last year’s The Dewey Decimal System easily made my top five books of 2011, and I have little doubt that its follow-up, The Nervous System will have any trouble doing the same in 2012.
The Nervous System finds Dewey in his normal situation: all fucked up. After the cataclysmic events of the last book, Dewey is a bit unmoored, but fortunately he has his obsessive project with reorganizing the main branch of the New York Public Library. He also has a new case: the murder of a prostitute, which also involves a U.S. Senator. Dewey’s not-too-distant future is as much a wild west as Mad Max’s (with fewer bad haircuts), and the politicos scuttling around the wreckage of the Big Apple are even filthier than they are now. More of Dewey’s memories begin to return of his life as a soldier and/or a mercenary, but will he finally regain his past in full? Read the book and find out, suckers.
As I said elsewhere when The Dewey Decimal System was released last year, Nathan Larson has taken a lot of tired old tropes–the private dick, the post-apocalypse, the quirkily unreliable narrator–and breathed new life into them all at once. His style isn’t what you would call minimalist, but he only doles out just enough to keep you turning the pages, none of the overbearing gosh-wow of your standard post-apocalypse junk. Just solid characters, well-crafted plots, and prose you could poke an eye out with.
The Nervous System is available from Akashic Books wherever finer books are sold.