Beneath Lausanne Cathedral, in Switzerland, there is a secret buried before time began, something unknown to angels and men, until now.... Marc Rochat watches over the city at night from the belfry of the cathedral. He lives in a world of shadows and "beforetimes" and imaginary beings. Katherine Taylor, call girl and daydreamer, is about to discover that her real-life fairy tale is too good to be true. Jay Harper, private detective, wakes up in a crummy hotel room with no memory. When the telephone rings and he's offered a job, he knows he has no choice but to accept. Three lives, one purpose: save what's left of paradise before all hell breaks loose.
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- colleen "My favorite genres are absurdist humor, Sci-fi & modern fantasy, but, as you can see, I'll read just about anything. Don't mind the typos."
Darker Than Anticipated.
A running theme in this book is duality; there's the modern day Lausanne that two of the characters spend most of their time living in, and the more old fashioned existence of the third. There's good, and there's evil. And, for me, there was what the book could have been, and what the book was.
The first third of the book is filled with unexplained occurrences, jumps forward and backward in time, and information doled out in a limited and non-linear way. It made me think of watching "Lost"; and the sort of style that only works if the pay-off at the end of the story is worth the confusion. While things did end up being explained, I did not feel there was a good enough twist or revelation to justify the tactics used.
The first half of the book is far darker than I had expected, often becoming crude, graphic, and unappealing. The passages dealing with sex start out uncomfortable, and escalated from there; crossing all the way into rape and a version of human trafficking. Strong language is used throughout the book. There are several gruesome murder scenes graphically described.
The character of Marc is meant to be sweet, unusual, and loveable; and in many ways the author succeeds. In the first half of the book however, the character spends a great deal of time alone; and during this time he is constantly having heated one-sided arguments with animals and inanimate objects. At times I thought these passages would never end. I can't help but feel that in the author's attempt for whimsy, he crossed the line into grating obnoxiousness.
The second half of the book did improve. Marc does less talking to himself, most of the issues of sex are done, and a warm friendship begins to grow between two of the characters that certainly had it's moments of charm. There was little character development however, so I never found myself caring as much about these people as I would have liked to.
The narration was very well done, with great, unique voices for each individual. I was quite impressed, and especially enjoyed listening to the voice assigned to Jay Harper. In the future I would certainly look for this narrator again.
While the ending was a bit underwhelming, I never hold that against books that are intended to be the first of a trilogy, which this is; I expect them to leave you in a place that isn't fully satisfying, and think that's fair. All things considered, I'd say the ending was fine.
The true highlight of the book is the city of Lausanne, and if you're going to read this I encourage you to search out some photos of the city, the cathedral, LP's Bar, etc; it definitely added to my enjoyment of the book. I'd especially search out a photo of the Escalier du Marche, to understand the street Marc is constantly working to climb up and down.
I'll be curious to see how others felt about this one.