On reading: A Man of Shadows by Jeff Noon

Time to read:

2 minutes

Title: A Man of Shadows

Author: Jeff Noon

From the back: Below the neon skies of Dayzone – where the lights never go out, and night has been banished – lowly private eye John Nyquist takes on a teenage runaway case. His quest takes him from Dayzone into the permanent dark of Nocturna.

As the vicious, seemingly invisible serial killer known only as Quicksilver haunts the streets, Nyquist starts to suspect that the runaway girl holds within her the key to the city’s fate. In the end, there’s only one place left to search: the shadow-choked zone known as Dusk.

The gist: Noon never fails to bring something new to the party. And he brings it with such a flair for word painting it feels like each page is a subtle dosage of something illicit that’s getting you high and what are there badgers up here and why are they purple and does that one have a small cat protruding from its ear hole…?


What I’m trying to say isn’t that this book is about purple flying badgers with cats in their ears (I don’t recall this happening in the book). Instead, it’s that A Man of Shadows is a truly surreal detective noir trip into a city with no time… or rather too much time… or rather so many times. And light-bulbs, lots and lots of light-bulbs. And Noon creates this crazy world so vividly, so beautifully and dirtily, that he pulls you through the city and you have no choice but to fall into the rabbit hole with him.

Oh, and, let’s not forget there’s a serial killer knocking about too.

Noon creates such an original setting, the images stick in your brain like postcards from a mysterious stranger. One that writes to you with riddles and clues and one day you’ll understand what he means and that might be something darker than you were expecting. Noon gives you a world of contrasts and in-betweens, and lets you explore its deepest, darkets secrets.

I encourage you to take a trip to the city, with Noon as your tour guide. What time does the tour start? I genuinely have no idea.

Favourite line: “Don’t bother with Maria. She’s got no numbers left on her clock.” He tapped the side of his head. “Midnight of the soul.”

Read if: You enjoy your detective noir laced with all kinds of surreal, original timelines.

Read with: No clocks in your vicinity, or confusion will reign.

Get it: A Man of Shadows by Jeff Noon

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