The first two books of the Night Angel trilogy I classify as very good popcorn books: incredibly readable, but not a lot else. Beyond the Shadows, however, transcends popcorn book status and becomes something legitimately great, and I’d like to talk about why, and I can’t without spoilage.
I read it in one day.
The clear point of comparison for I Am Not A Serial Killer/John Cleaver is to Dexter, so let’s start there. I like John better, as a character and a serial killer. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy Dexter (also read ’em in a day), but I’ve never really been afraid of Dexter. Despite his total lack of empathy and tendency to murder, he blends in so well that I would gladly be his friend. We could golf, have barbecues. The wives and kids playing in the back yard while we drink something manly and appropriate and make quips about bloody meat (or something). Dexter is so in control that, for a serial killer, he’s down-right cuddly.
The Martian by Andy Weir is the best hard science fiction I’ve ever read (disclaimer: I haven’t read a lot of hard science fiction). Simultaneously hilarious, nail-biting, and heroic while being scientifically accurate (the final print version, at least). And, since it’s science fiction in the very-near-future, there’s little-to-no hand-waving; the technology in the book is technology we have and understand today.
It’s difficult for me to say too many good things about Steven Erikson’s Malazan series, and the books have been getting even better.