Sunday, June 21, 2020

The Riddle of the Fractal Monks (A Mathematical Mystery Book 3)

The Riddle of the Fractal Monks is the third in the Mathematical Mystery series by Jonathan Pinnock. Released 16th April 2020 by Duckworth on their Farrago imprint, it's 304 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats.

The setup and humor remind me very much of other humorous British SF(ish) classics: Fforde, Fowler, Grant/Naylor, Moore, Stross, Aaronovitch, It's not derivative, not really, the author has a slightly different humorous slant and oh, good heavens, the puns flow like a mighty river. Whilst reading, I definitely felt like the aforementioned authors were being channeled though...

There are genuinely funny moments and the pacing is frenetic and relentless. The bad guys are boo-worthy, the good guys are plucky and funny and brave (if often quite hapless) and the end result is enjoyably readable. This is precisely the type of mystery/speculative fiction I adore and I was honestly captivated from literally the first page. This is the first book in a while which has made me stay up late reading. The author is adept at writing in necessary backstory, so it does work well as a standalone, but I recommend the other volumes in the series quite highly.

Four and a half stars, rounded up for the writing. People who loathe puns (or intelligent humour) will likely not enjoy this one. Fans of Laundry Files, Red Dwarf, HHGttG, and the others will find a lot to like until the next Shadow Police novel hits the stands (if it ever does... yes, I'm lookin' at you, Paul Cornell). For North American readers, the spellings and vernacular are British English. Nothing which should prove frustrating in context.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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