Novel by Michael Marshall Smith
first published in 1998. The third novel Smith had published, One of Us
is similar in style to his previous works, Only Forward
, written as it is in sardonic first person prose, and set in a near future version of west coast America where things have become twisted to a minor degree. This time the plot centres on Hap Thomson, a small time ne'er-do-well
, ex barman who has found a lucrative line as a REMtemp
taking care of people's unwanted dreams and memories
. However when he finds himself burdened with a memory of a murder he is forced to find the real culprit and face up to his own past mistakes.
This is a very funny book, as all electrical appliances have been fitted with a voice and a type of AI that seems to have come from the makers of the Talkie Toaster in Red Dwarf. Hap is pursued through the book by a talking, walking, (yes there are also herds of wild coffee machines roaming the desert) alarm clock that keeps telling him it's time to get up. As usual Smith pulls the rug out from under your feet two thirds through the book with a change of direction that is becoming something of a trademark for him, and while the ending is a tad disappointing, is is not quite Neal Stephenson-esque enough to ruin what preceded it.