The City by S.C. Mendes
There is a civilization hidden deep beneath our own; a place spoken of only in whispers.
Chinatown, 1910. The bodies were discovered six months after Max Elliot turned in his badge. All that remained of the victims were piles of flayed skin and organs. The bones of each body had been stolen. This torturous method of execution had only been seen once before by the San Francisco PD, and that case was never closed.
Confident of a connection between that unsolved case and these new grisly murders, the police turn to the one man they believe can help. With the allure of closure to his own personal tragedy, Max Elliot agrees to reinstatement for one last case. However, the clues lead the unstable detective down a path he never could have imagined. A mysterious drug, a world beneath our own, sex and violence on an unprecedented level, and creatures as ancient as sin itself.
Follow Max as he looks for answers in The City. But remember, all knowledge comes at a price.
So vivid and inventive. I love unique interpretations of the noir detective genre. It was brutal, tense, and made you think about topics like how far you would go to get what you want — whether that is vengeance or a cure for disease. There’s a lot going on here and it feels like there will be a sequel. The entire underground world of the city, that I could picture in detail, merits another book. There is a lot to be explored here.
Man, where can I start with this book? It's so inventive, consuming, and there are plenty of messed-up scenes to keep things intense. S.C. Mendes delivers a unique yet twisted tale that you'll never forget. His writing style reminds me of a crazier Graham Masterton, and this is definitely a great book if you're a fan of his work. I won't give too much away, but the book centers on a detective (Max Elliot) whose family died brutal deaths only a few months prior. A similar death occurs again, and the killer leaves behind a mysterious drug. Max links that drug to an underground city run by The Mara, a breed of humanoid reptiles that have existed for centuries. In this underground city, humans are able to indulge in their vices. As long as they pay a small price, The Mara gives them what they want. Throughout the story, you wonder who are the sinister ones: the humans for their sick pleasures, or the Mara who are simply satisfying them and capitalizing on them. It's an entrancing metaphor weaved into an expertly crafted story. You won't be able to stop reading this one, I guarantee that.