Icarus Ascending: Ascending to a Revelatory Light ... By Lee James
23/01/16 04:16 PM Filed in: Book Review
Lee James' first novel in the LA Detectives series is a brilliant dive into what makes Crime Noir so riveting a read. This one will definitely keep you guessing right up to the end. A definite 5 Violet Quill rating.
Be sure to catch Lee James discussing the works on the WROTE podcast. It is a very engaging conversation about the craft of writing thrillers and crime noir novels. You can find the episodes by following this link
Author: Lee James
Publisher: Dreamspinner Publications
Year of Original Release: 2015
Rating: 5 Violet Quills
Icarus Ascending is a brisk but deeply fulfilling dive into crime noir with a succulent thread of man candy woven throughout the work. To say Icarus is cinematic in Crime Noir scope and appeal would be akin to saying Hitchcock knew something about thrillers and film.
Yet, like the master of suspense that Hitch was, James weaves a tale that is concise with prose to the point where, as a reader, you are compiling your own hit list of whodunnit as you turn the page. The thing is, with each plot twist and curve James deftly slings your way, your list quickly devolves into being written on quicksand. This is a very good thing. Like Mr. Hitchcock did with "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (first attempted in 1939 and then again in 1956, where Hitch described himself as saying the ’39 version was "crafted by a talented amateur and the latter by a seasoned professional") Mr. James retake on it’s previous incarnation (Errors and Omissions) in its newer retelling follows Hitch’s success in that E&O was a well crafted and engaging novel, the reworking of it is that much cleaner - a deft eye and a steady hand of, dare I say it, literary genius at work in this genre.
Indeed, it is this clean and "take no prisoners" prose that gives Icarus its bite. Like the crazed sociopathic killer at the heart of this tale, James creates an ensemble of characters that take a bite of your imagination and run wild into the night with it. James draws scenes and colors them with all the mastery of JMW Turner masterpiece - the settings are just opaque enough so that every subtle light and dark he paints with leaves you wondering if you saw everything he put there. This is a very good thing in a crime mystery. He keeps you guessing right up to the ending.
I won’t go into a blow-by-blow of the work as that is a huge disservice to the author and the work itself. I don’t do book reports and loathe those who put plot points into reviews. This is ESPECIALLY true of mystery works. I want you to discover this world and these men (and women) who inhabit them. You’d be all the richer for it. Like Icarus, I found myself ascending toward the climatic light, hoping that the characters I’d grown to love in the works would make it through and not parish from the that harsh light of revelation in the end. A decidedly quality work. Bravo Mr. James. The first of a series and I will rush to purchase the next volume in this illustrious and gripping work.
Too bad ol’ Hitch isn’t around to option it. It would make for one helluva thriller. Kudos to you Mr. James, I think you're onto something.