4.5 stars. An imaginative blend of cyberpunk, crime noir, and the metaphysical, No Dogs in Philly is an exciting and compelling read that kept me equally entertained and intrigued. The main character, Saru Solan, is a private detective in an amped-up and wrecked-out future version of Philadelphia. She is hired by the other-dimensional Gaespora to save a blue-eyed girl who is being sought by the vampiric Feasters–and the fate of the world rests in the balance as she avoids the clutches of hordes of connected and controlled elzi, a group of cruel and efficient killers ruthlessly slaughtering all blue-eyed girls, and the numbing yet comforting music of the UausuaU that leads to oblivion.
Andy Futuro sinks you into his strange yet familiar world with the shock of a sudden dunk in cold water. Don’t worry, things will resolve shortly; just accept the bizarreness of his creation and know that explanations are forthcoming. I’m appreciative of the fact that he mainly avoids infodumps (the exception is a longer conversation with the Gaespora, which really couldn’t be presented contextually any other way). The plot moves along at a rapid pace, with few wasted words and a page-turning intensity.
The strength of this book is the tough-as-nails protagonist Saru. She is written with razor wit and burning intensity, and her actions and decisions are believable. Saru is one of those characters who makes an instant impression and will stick with me for a long while.
I also liked the blend of technology and the mystical. Futuro’s mythos of interconnecting universes is believably rooted in both science and religion, and presented in a way that shows how different characters’ perspective gives them a different view of the universe.
No Dogs in Philly is a creative and fascinating novel, both eminently satisfying and leaving me hungry for more.
Review copy kindly provided by the author.