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August 30th, 2017 · Posted by Skuds in Life · No Comments · Life

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory

I just finished reading a book called Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory. The paperback is out in May 2018 but it is available in hardback or for the Kindle now.

There are two things that you can put in a book description to make me run a mile. If the description starts with “One woman’s journey..” I will normally stop reading straight away. The other red flag for me is any suggestion of telling the story of a family across the generations.

Well this book is the story of a family across three generations, but it turned out to be a great read.It does help that the family starts with a conman and cardsharp with mob connections who married a girl with the ability to leave her body and who gets involved in CIA projects to counter Russian psychic espionage. Their children have abilities like detecting lies, seeing the future and telekinesis, and their children have their own talents.

The book is a period drama, although the period is 1995 and it is sobering to realise that a time so recent is actually now long enough ago to be suitable for period pieces, but the references to AOL discs struck a real chord and established the period perfectly for me.

What I really like is the idea that people who discover that they have some sort of superpower are not automatically knocking up a Lycra suit and going out fighting crime. Would you? I know I wouldn’t.

There are several current (1995) strands to the story: the grandfather, Teddy, befriending a woman in a supermarket and helping her handle her husband’s arrest, his daughter, Irene, coping with having to move back to the family home and the problems of trying to have a normal relationship when she can always tell if somebody is lying to her, her brother, Frankie, who is using his unreliable telekinesis to help in his telephone installation work and is up to his ears in debt to the mob, her other brother, Buddy, who can see the future but will not talk to anybody in case he either changes the future or makes it happen. The other main strand is Irene’s son, Matthias, who discovers that he can leave his body but needs to be either high or horny to do it, neither of which is too difficult as he is a teenage boy.

In between all this we learn through flashbacks about Teddy’s history with the mob, the family’s brief showbiz career, the late Maureen’s CIA exploits, Frankie’s failed plans and what is going on in Buddy’s head as he prepares for the future that he can’t tell anybody about.

It all sounds complicated, but it all makes sense as you read it and the book has plemty of the quirkiness that I like to see in a novel. The TV rights have already been snapped up and I look forward to seeing what they do with this set of characters.

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