The Art of Arrow Cutting : A Novel of Magic-Noir Suspense

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9780312868321: The Art of Arrow Cutting : A Novel of Magic-Noir Suspense

If he'd known all the trouble following her, itinerant photographer Michelangelo "Mage" Magistrale would have thought twice about helping the beautiful, distressed woman at the bus station. In return for a ticket she gives Mage what she says is the key to her apartment, but he quickly discovers that it's much more: it's a key to any door, to any place, to incredible power--and there are people who will stop at nothing to possess it.

Suddenly Mage is on the run from Calgary to Los Angeles, under constant attack from ninja, Yakuza thugs, and terrible creatures ripped from Japanese mythology. His only hope is to discover the secret of the key and master its power--to learn the art of arrow cutting--before he comes to the inevitable confrontation with the dark forces pursuing him.

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Review:

Agreeable but aimless, Michelangelo Magistrale has a photographer's eye for form and detail and a knack with women. It hardly seems out of the ordinary when penniless Amanda Sharmon asks him for bus fare and gives him a room key in return. After Amanda catches a bus west, Magistrale becomes the focus of incomprehensible attacks and nightmarish supernatural manifestations. Luckily, he happens to bunk with sometime-stuntman-ninja Charles Takumo at a youth hostel, and Magistrale's weird experiences engage Takumo's interest. What is the key really for? Where is Amanda Sharmon? Why was she so skittish and sad? Who is behind the attacks, and what is their purpose? Egged on by Takumo and pressured by his unknown and ubiquitous pursuers, Magistrale applies himself to figuring out how he, the strange key, and Amanda are connected.

Stephen Dedman's first novel is one long, suspenseful chase scene. It's reminiscent of Tim Powers's work, but without Powers's sprawl. Dedman's characters are suitably charming (or menacing), and the mythic and contemporary Japanese details are entertainingly skewed in fantastical Hong Kong cinema style: everything is just a little exaggerated, just larger than life. The structure is filmlike, too--tightly paced and without unnecessary digressions. Plan to put your feet up and read this book all in one sitting!

From the Publisher:

"A very impressive achievement." --Locus

"An agreeable blend of oriental fantasy and noir-ish sleuthing: a polished, well-organized debut, complemented by Dedman's nice light touch on the tiller." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"The Art of Arrow Cutting is equal parts urban fantasy, noir thriller, and Japanese myth. A clever and engaging book." --Sci-Fi Universe

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Dedman, Stephen
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ISBN 10: 0312868324 ISBN 13: 9780312868321
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