By Logan Lo
Grifters, $2.99, 473 KB

Let’s start with praise that I consider of the highest order. Logan Lo’s novel The Men Made of Stone has enough going for it that, while reading, I kept thinking back to Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange. Both have a strong and unyielding hum of ultra-violence. Both have outbursts of humanity and humor that stand out sharply from the hum. Those breaks become gasps of welcome air to parched lungs, and this is not an effect one runs into in humdrum, grind ’em out action thrillers.

It’s a pity really that the director of the film version of A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick, remains dead, as in his hands, there would be a quite intriguing film here. There are as many excellent books and movies about the Italian Mafia as you can shake a cannoli at, yet the equal intrigue of the competing Asian organized crime mobs of New York have not received the same treatment. Then again, Asian stories, as a whole, have not really received their due in terms of marketing and publicity.

Logan Lo’s novel is not for the casual reader–let’s be clear about this. Rather ominously, before one reads the first chapter, there is a two-page list of characters, like the dramatis personae in Shakespeare. Personally, I never needed to refer to it, finding that the flow of Lo’s story about the club owner named C and his encounters with the mobs managed to explain itself just fine. Amidst the violence, there are pieces of knowledge interjected that give the whole a certain veritas, such as the Asian mobs picking up the sending of a black rose to an impending victim. Good ideas are always worth sharing. A book not for the weak of heart, but one that will please the strong of mind.

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