As soon as I realized yesterday was Bettie Sharpe’s release day, I headed over to Samhain and picked up my copy of this novella. And though I had other things I really needed to be doing, I sat down and read it right then.
Why? Well, if you’d read any of her work, you wouldn’t need to ask. See, Bettie has a visceral quality to her writing. She sinks a fist into your gut and won’t let go until the roller coaster stops. Yet she also possesses a certain literate elegance in her use of language. World-building? Check. She gives just enough detail in a novella that we have a sense of place, but without anything like an infodump.
But enough esoteric stuff.
In Like a Thief in the Night, neither protagonist is terribly likable. In fact, I suspect some readers might be put off by the level of violence and the way the hero and heroine relate to each other. I’m not going to give away any details that will spoil, but if you read it, you know exactly what I mean.
But it worked for me. This is a kickass futuristic story, no doubt about it. The action left me breathless, and the dialog is top-notch: quick, witty, and oh-so-smart.
I loved Arden. I also loved that Ms. Sharpe didn’t turn her hardcore heroine into a spun sugar princess, transformed by the power of love. The hero was a match for the heroine, but honestly, this was Arden’s book. Usually it’s the hero I’ll remember, but not in this case. Arden is fierce, people, downright feral in some instances, and Ms. Sharpe conveys the difference in her psyche with a deft, masterful hand.
She also imbues this hard-edged story with a surreal, almost mythic atmosphere. I can’t quantify anymore, except if I were giving it a series title, I might call it something like Grimm’s Cyberpunk. I find myself hoping she’ll write Jack’s story — Arden’s protégé is definitely intriguing.
In conclusion, Ms. Sharpe is an author to watch. If you like gritty, dark, dangerous stories where the threat is real, and things really do go thump in the night, then you want this novella.
Well, what are you waiting for? Go buy it!