Help me find this old poetic noir SF book
January 10, 2014 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Years ago I read this old science fiction book that was written in a poetic noir style, and I remember bits of the plot, but not any names to google. Could you help me find it?

It was from my Dad's collection which means pre-2000 for sure, and probably pre-90s, in fact, I'm pretty sure its pages were turning yellow.

The plot as I recall it: There was someone murdered, and they had a connection to someone rich, an ex-military figure. The police no longer investigate crimes if no one is willing to pay them, so they hand it over to a PI (the main character) in exchange for a commission if he finds someone willing to pay him to solve it. Then they tell him that someone powerful has told them to lay off, and retract the case from him. I forget the next bit but it eventually winds up going into a ghetto for mutants, and saves himself at one point by pretending to be a mad berserker by reciting nursery rhymes. When he gets back out he finds out that the powerful person he is investigating has been smuggling mutants out of the ghetto, letting them get to positions of power and then blackmailing them for huge sums of money. Oh, and the bad guy was a (super-intelligent?) mutant himself I think. There was a final fight in a factory or something?

What caught me was the silly, overwritten style; Everything was described with metaphors and similes out the wazoo. It wasn't necessarily a good book, but I loved the writing style, and always was searching for what noir detective stories it was copying it from.
posted by Canageek to Writing & Language (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm reasonably sure that this is not the book you're thinking of, but there's a small chance it might be:

Altered Carbon, by Richard Morgan.

From the Amazon blurb: ... Centuries-old aristocrat Laurens Bancroft brings Takeshi Kovacs (an Envoy, a specially trained soldier used to being resleeved and trained to soak up clues from new environments) to Earth, where Kovacs is resleeved into a cop's body to investigate Bancroft's first mysterious, stack-damaging death. To solve the case, Kovacs must destroy his former Envoy enemies; outwit Bancroft's seductive, wily wife; dabble in United Nations politics; trust an AI that projects itself in the form of Jimi Hendrix; and deal with his growing physical and emotional attachment to Kristin Ortega, the police lieutenant who used to love the body he's been given. ...

It's really good. But it's from 2006.
posted by RedOrGreen at 2:02 PM on January 10, 2014

Response by poster: Definitely not. This novel was all set on earth as I recall. Thanks though.
posted by Canageek at 2:21 PM on January 10, 2014

Outside chance, but it could be Gun with Occasional Music, a harder-that-diamond detective novel featuring intelligent animals (not mutants exactly), although I think there were some mutants as well.
posted by AndrewStephens at 3:06 PM on January 10, 2014

Response by poster: AndrewStephens: Nope, I looked into that one already. There were only humans and mutants who were human-looking or deformed.
posted by Canageek at 1:50 PM on January 11, 2014

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