A virtuosic mashup of Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler by way of Marvel—the story of a detective investigating the murder of a Titan, one of society’s most powerful, medically-enhanced elites. • “Cross-genre brilliance from the superbly talented Nick Harkaway.” —William Gibson, New York Times best-selling author of Agency
"An exemplar of its genre, Titanium Noir twists and turns between excellent fun and deep melancholy." —The New York Times Book Review
Cal Sounder is a detective working for the police on certain very sensitive cases. So when he’s called in to investigate a homicide at a local apartment, he’s surprised by the routineness of it all. But when he arrives on scene, Cal soon learns that the victim—Roddy Tebbit, an otherwise milquetoast techie—is well over seven feet tall. And although he doesn’t look a day over thirty, he is ninety-one years old. Tebbit is a Titan—one of this dystopian, near-future society’s genetically altered elites. And this case is definitely Cal’s thing.
There are only a few thousand Titans worldwide, thanks to Stefan Tonfamecasca’s discovery of the controversial T7 genetic therapy, which elevated his family to godlike status. T7 turns average humans into near-immortal distortions of themselves—with immense physical proportions to match their ostentatious, unreachable lifestyles. A dead Titan is big news . . . a murdered Titan is unimaginable. But these modified magnates are Cal’s specialty. In fact, his own ex-girlfriend, Athena, is a Titan. And not just any—she is Stefan’s daughter, heir to the massive Tonfamecasca empire.
As the murder investigation intensifies, Cal begins to unravel the complicated threads of what should have been a straightforward case, and it becomes clear he’s on the trail of a crime whose roots run deep into the dark heart of the world.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
An old-school detective story gets a brain-bending science fiction makeover. Nick Harkaway’s murder mystery takes place in the not-too-distant future, where wealthy tech bros and influencers can become genetically altered into ageless giants called Titans, who are considered superior to the rest of humanity. But when a Titan turns up murdered, detective Cal Sounder—who has a complicated history with the altered elites—gets called in to crack the case. Cal’s underdog status and pitch-black sense of humor give Harkaway’s futuristic tale a classic gumshoe vibe, with plenty of pulpy action and suspense. Titanium Noir has the same inventiveness that William Gibson and Neal Stephenson brought to science fiction about the next phase of human evolution.
Harkaway (Gnomon) pulls off an artful blend of science fiction and hard-boiled detective story in this excellent outing. In the near future, gene therapy has made a remarkable breakthrough: those able to afford an expensive procedure called Titanium 7 appear younger, gaining great height, strength, and longevity. Private eye Cal Sounder, who specializes in investigations involving these so-called "Titans," is hired by his friend, homicide detective Giles Gratton, to consult on a tricky case. Roddy Tebbit, a 91-year-old Titan who looked half his age, has been shot execution-style in his apartment in a part of the city where a large number of the world's 2,000 Titans live. Apart from his genetic enhancement, Tebbit led an unremarkable life, making it hard to identify a motive for his slaying. Despite their small numbers, Titans wield significant political power, so Sounder makes the case a priority. Soon, however, his investigation points to answers that may lie closer to home than he'd like. Harkaway's superior worldbuilding makes it easy for readers to buy in to the conceit, which burnishes detective story clichés with sci-fi flair. It's a wild ride.
Excellent but too short