Review: Gun, with Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem

It took me a half dozen tries in as many years to finish Jonathan Lethem’s Gun, with Occasional Music. Hard-boiled detective fiction has never been my thing; it often feels ponderous and overdone. However, Lethem injects humor and sci-fi to create something new, even fun. The action happens through Conrad Metcalf’s eyes and is filtered through drug use and self-assured cynicism. Hired by Dr. Stanhunt to tail his wife, Celeste Stanhunt, Metcalf is a private investigator with a complicated relationship to the Inquisitor’s Office. After Dr. Stanhunt is found dead, the suspected murderer hires Metcalf to clear his name. There’s an obvious cover-up in play which draws Metcalf into increasingly shady deals. The twists and endless questions are common to the genre, but the writing style and compelling setting make it hard to put down. read more