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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Thursday, August 9, 2007 7:34 pm
Havoc Wreaked–Cheap
Posted by: Kaite

Di Herald’s kick-ass readalike on Kick Ass Heroines reminded me of why I wanted to play striker for Manchester United and use a meter maid for goal practice this morning. I wasn’t parked more than ten minutes! It wasn’t even 8 a.m.! And she saw me coming to move my car!

But the more I think about it, the more I realized I’m not really in the mood to mess up someone’s day. I’m in the mood to mess with someone’s world. Which probably explains my recent fascination with insomnia-inducing, adrenaline-riddled, conspiracy theorist novels.

Derek Armstrong’s The Game had me up all night trying to figure out who was killing all the contestants locked in a remote haunted mansion serving as the latest setting for a trendy reality television show. Enter the world’s most gleefully abhorrent detective, equipped with misanthropic ripostes, claustrophobia and a pill-popping habit. Anyone who loathes reality television will wish that Top Chef had their very own Detective Alban Bane wielding a knife in the kitchen. The  Game

 I turned next to Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff. This futuristic conspiracy-twisted thriller takes off like a rocket. Jane works for “Bad Monkeys” a division of “The Organization” that takes directives from the “Cost Benefits” division. Their mission? Take out those humans who are deemed a drain on society while alive and less so when, well, terminated. Unfortunately, an untimely termination leads to Jane’s arrest, and she is now telling her wildly unbelievable, but oh-so-realistic, tale to a prison shrink as she calmly acknowledges that, yes, she killed a man, but no, he probably didn’t “need” it, not like the other bad monkeys.Bad Monkeys


Of course, if you really have time to kill between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., then you need Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis. Think Da Vinci Code on hallucinogens with a strong dose of Advanced Placement American History and you will be traveling the underground railroad of the “secondary” Constitution with Mike McGill and punky academic Trix.

Crooked Little Vein



These books won’t soothe the insomnia or the agita. But they will make you glad you stayed up for it and you’ll be ready to kick more than your caffeine in morning.



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