The Broken Ones
By Stephen M. Irwin
(Doubleday, Hardcover, 9780385534659, 368pp.)
Publication Date: August 7, 2012
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Award-winning author Stephen M. Irwin returns with a thrilling, supernatural crime novel built around an intriguing question: What happens when every single person is haunted by a ghost only they can see?
Without warning, a boy in the middle of a city intersection sends Detective Oscar Mariani's car careening into a busy sidewalk. The scene is bedlam as every person becomes visited by something no one else can see. We are all haunted. Usually, the apparition is someone known: a lost relative, a lover, an enemy. But not always. For Oscar Mariani, the only secret that matters is the unknown ghost who now shares his every waking moment . . . and why.
The worldwide aftershock of what becomes known as "Gray Wednesday" is immediate and catastrophic, leaving governments barely functioning and economies devastated . . . but some things don't change. When Detective Mariani discovers the grisly remains of an anonymous murder victim in the city sewage system, his investigation will pit him against a corrupt police department and a murky cabal conspiring for power in the new world order.
Stephen M. Irwin has created an unforgettable crime novel and an intense, textured vision of the near-future. The Broken Ones is the riveting search for hope in the darkest corners of the imagination.
STEPHEN M. IRWIN lives in Brisbane, Australia, with his wife and children. He is the author of The Dead Path.
Favorite Books of 2012, Chicago Tribune...Best Fiction of 2012: Thrillers, Kirkus Reviews...Best of 2012 Horror, Suspense Magazine
“I was hooked from page one. The protagonist of The Broken Ones is a policeman in Australia, which (in Irwin’s narrative world), has become a different country since a sudden reversal of polarity. This reversal has changed everything: now each live person is haunted by one ghost, visible only to that person. The consequences of this situation utterly change society. Detective Oscar Mariani is still trying to be a good cop in a world that does not appreciate good cops or reward them, and the murders he is determined to solve are horrendous. Intelligent, grim, and challenging.”
New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris, on CharlaineHarris.com
"A truly unique and harrowing vision--Irwin's ability to blend genres is as remarkable as his imagination."
LINCOLN CHILD, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
"In this strange and uncanny second novel, Australian author (and filmmaker) Stephen M. Irwin combines the gumshoe fiction of Raymond Chandler and the retro-futurism of "Blade Runner" to concoct a doomsday scenario that feels eerily relevant...No one in this feverish novel emerges unscathed. You may not, either. I couldn't shake the enveloping gloom or lyrical despair of The Broken Ones for days."
"In the striking retro future of this novel, bizarre and familiar comfortably coincide. A flawlessly assembled thriller."
Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"A well-paced, imaginative story."
The Free Lance-Star
"Blending the supernatural thriller with hard-boiled crime fiction, Australian Irwin, in his second novel, which follows the acclaimed The Dead Path (2010), depicts a bleak future. Three years after Grey Wednesday, on which the earth’s poles suddenly switched, unemployment is rampant, while food and goods are in short supply. Perhaps most devastating of all, however, was the appearance of the ghosts. All are now haunted by the eyeless specters of people they once knew. As a result, suicide and murder rates have skyrocketed, and a unit has been created within the police department to exonerate perpetrators driven to murder by their ghosts. Rumpled, dogged detective Oscar Mariani works in that unit. He is poorly paid, constantly under threat of being shut down, and disrespected by mainstream policemen, many of whom are corrupt. But then he catches the case of a young woman whose body has been badly mutilated and marked with occult signs, and he is convinced her murder is connected to the highest levels of government. How he goes about solving his case while weighed down with guilt over his failed personal relationships provides much of the suspense in a story that also offers cinematic descriptions of a rain-drenched, ruined Brisbane and smoothly incorporated supernatural elements. A unique and thrilling blend of horror and crime."
Booklist (Starred Review)
"Stephen M. Irwin's new book is a thrilling ride, cementing him as a formidable new talent in fiction."
Book of the Month Club
“Infusing equals parts of horror and crime, The Broken Ones is masterfully written and an entertaining read.”
The Birmingham Times
"Highly original...Irwin’s depiction of a world falling apart under the onslaught of supernatural forces, and the desperate measures some will take to remedy it, is one of the more memorable in recent weird fiction."
“Genre-bending and imaginative, Irwin’s sophomore novel is part fantasy, part supernatural crime thriller. Similar in style and content to the works of Cherie Priest and Richard Matheson, this will appeal to a variety of genre readers who enjoy intelligent fiction that pushes boundaries.”
"Some of the best work being produced across all the art forms in this century derives its quality and its energy from the mixing up of forms and genres... This ambitious novel combines not just two genres, but three, mixing up the conventions of supernatural mystery, police procedural and speculative fiction to produce a futuristic dystopian society that has broken down after an invasion of ghosts, with a hero straight from the hard-boiled school of crime... The writing is at once witty, gritty and grim. The horrors are genuinely horrible and the imagined scenario is satisfyingly rich and suggestive." 'Pick of the Week'
Sydney Morning Herald