Bad Things by Michael Marshall Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A stunning, riveting, multi-layered mystery-and-more, “Bad Things” is so complex and convoluted that I can only think of Brian Freeman’s mysteries in comparison. Set in the Pacific Northwest (Washington State, Oregon, then Washington State again), the settings and locales become every bit as important as the human characters; in fact, the settings are characters in their own right. Black Ridge, Washington and Marion Beach, Oregon-especially the former-are fully-fleshed, fully-dimensional characters in themselves-and by the end of the book, the reader can readily decide whether she would ever wish to live in such a locale (Black Ridge).
Michael Marshall Smith is an accomplished and terrifying author-terrifying in the sense that the events in this book seem fated-implacable-inescapable; and it is only much later that we learn that perhaps-way back when-steps could have been taken to put the world on a different path, one more fortuitous, less troubled, less inescapably evil-but only perhaps. Human choice is still very much a part of the matter, though-so that even with fate, destiny, generational heritage, and the Supernatural-not to mention Manifest Destiny, classism, and bigotry-individual humans still can and must make their own individual choices, according to their own moral codes.
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