I don’t know what it is, guys… am I getting used to Cesare’s writing, or is this an in-your-face introduction to one of the rising star our genre sorely craves right now? I mean, we’re looking at a great new and noteworthy generation here, but Cesare is literally one of maybe 5 scraps of new flesh that have not only produced quality material in quick succession to each other, but his pieces are getting notably better with each release.
It’s a bitch when this happens. Seriously. Cause now I going to have to follow his career, and I’ll tell ya… I’m gonna hear it from my bookcases when I get home.
And lookie lookie… another entry into the stellar Sam Truman mystery series. And it’s a damned sexy entry if you ask me. Be still my cold black heart… I think I’m in love…
Sam Truman wakes up with a wicked hangover, handcuffed to a beautiful Asian girl. He doesn’t remember how he got there, but she insists that he took on a job for her. Always the loyal detective, Truman takes her at her word and promises to follow this job through, but when Sam finds out exactly what he’s up against, and just how special this girl really is, he realizes this definitely isn’t going to be a normal case. Not that he’s not used to that or anything…
Running from Triads in Little China, Sam must endeavor to see this case through, even if it means he’ll be on everybody’s hit list for a long time coming.
Like I said, I don’t know if I’m getting used to Cesare’s writing or if he’s just that damned good. From his short stories in Bone Meal Broth, we found out that the man has a way with the noir and mystery fare while also being capable of rampaging through the horror genre with a bisected and bloody limb in each hand, screaming words of absolution. Or maybe I’m just rambling… again.
Anyone who has taken a ride with this series will definitely know what’s coming. Smooth talking Sam Truman is probably going to wake up with a hangover, accept a casethat will eventually throw something supernatural in his face, he’ll have to make some tough decisions, and then he’s going to have the ever-loving shit beat out of him. It’s formulaic, but it’s an awesome formula, I must admit.
Cesare’s go at this character isn’t exactly better than the preceding volumes (I’m a CMK! purist, if you can’t already tell), but this story’s got a certain something that none of the rest had. Bound By Jade is decidedly more toned down than Catch my Killer!, The Last Invasion, and Soft Kiss, Hard Death, but it’s a helluva lot darker, too. I was actually really impressed that Cesare was able to make an already dark series that much darker, as well as grittier and truer to the genre it’s modelled after.
Now, being that these are novella length pieces, I’m aware that they’re a bloody fast read, but I’m hankering for more with this series with every damned turn. Kurtz kicked everything off with an introduction to a salty old bastard with no good reputation to lose, and a bitch of an attitude to give; Zuern put out a throwback to the golden age of comics with his alien fiesta; Elliott fulfilled the needs of all us horny little bastards with his glorification of erotic situations; and Cesare quenched the thirst for dirty dancing with mobs and organized crime.
So now I’m left wondering what’s next?
Well, things are going to have to be cranked up a notch if they’re going to beat Cesare’s characters, that’s for sure. Bound By Jade‘s incarnation of Sam is in more control than his predecessors. He’s much harder, and definitely luckier than any before him. In fact, I wouldn’t doubt that the author did a great deal of homework for this story, as it feels like the background is just as important to Cesare as what’s going on upfront. In fact, it’s brilliant how this author is able to make this story into a cinematic adventure akin to Big Trouble in Little China.
The ending to this tale is a little soft though, and feels a tad stifled. The action is packed so well into the front, middle and back half of this book that the the epilogue seems to have been thrown in there out of necessity rather than for the sake of continuity or to tie anything up. I would have preferred the story to end on a cliffhanger rather than end so abruptly.
Overall, Cesare’s got the chops to take on many genres. I just hope he keeps experimenting, and is willing to take some big chances in the future. If any of these new folks can do it, my money’s on Cesare.