From an author who consistently gives us “suspense that never stops,”* a jaw-dropping, near-future thriller that makes your most paranoid fantasies seem like child’s play.
From an author who consistently gives us “suspense that never stops” (James Patterson), a near-future thriller that makes your most paranoid fantasies seem like child’s play.
It’s late Thursday night, and Inspector Ross Carver is at a crime scene in one of the city’s last luxury homes. The dead man on the floor is covered by an unknown substance that’s eating through his skin. Before Carver can identify it, six FBI agents burst in and remove him from the premises. He’s pushed into a disinfectant trailer, forced to drink a liquid that sends him into seizures, and then is shocked unconscious.
On Sunday he wakes in his bed to find his neighbor, Mia—who he’s barely ever spoken to—reading aloud to him. He can’t remember the crime scene or how he got home; he has no idea two days have passed. Mia says she saw him being carried into their building by plainclothes police officers, who told her he’d been poisoned. Carver doesn’t really know this woman and has no way of disproving her, but his gut says to keep her close.
A mind-bending, masterfully plotted thriller that will captivate fans of Blake Crouch, China Miéville, and Lauren Beukes, The Night Market follows Carver as he works to find out what happened, soon realizing he’s entangled in a web of conspiracy that spans the nation. And that Mia may know a lot more than she lets on.
Carver pulled to the curb behind the chassis of a burned-out car.
Across the intersection was the billboard, six spotlights along the bottom. They shined upward, lighting the sign, throwing its shadow across the vacant building behind it. The rest of the neighborhood was dead. A moonscape of abandoned warehouses, everything picked over twice. Walls punched in with crowbars, wires and plumbing stripped out. Even the streetlights were gone; in Bay View and Hunter’s Point, copper was worth more than light. Kids were creeping in from the edges to steal bricks now. They could take them by the bucketload to the salvage yards south of town and trade them for day-old bread. He knew about that from last night.
But no one had touched the sign. Maybe it made them feel better, having it lit. He turned on the windshield wipers so he could see it clearly. He thought about getting out of the car. He’d be able to see all of it if he walked to the middle of the intersection. He’d almost done that last night, too, when he’d been lost in the dark, driving back from the scene. Shaking still, from the gunfire. Tonight he’d driven this way just to see it again. He didn’t have any business here. No one did.
The sign was brand new, but he couldn’t imagine who would have put it here. A place like this? They might as well have buried it in the desert.
It was selling perfume, a fragrance called Black Aria. The woman in the ad was an actress. He knew her face but not her name. His grandfather might have known. Elizabeth something? Or Audrey, maybe. She lay on her stomach, her chin propped in her hands. Her knees were bent so that her bare toes pointed straight up. She was surely nude underneath the black sheet that was draped over her, covering no more than it had to. Sheet or not, every curve was there, defined in bare skin or beneath the indents and contours of satin.
It was all digitized, of course. Just another seamless fake. The real Elizabeth, or Audrey, wouldn’t have posed like this. Not back then, whenever she was alive, and not to sell perfume. People used to have standards. But those were gone now and they weren’t coming back. Like the burned-out car, like the whole of Hunter’s Point. The bottle hovered above her bare shoulder blades, the crystal vial so thick it looked like ice. The liquid inside was the color of old blood.
The warmth started while he was looking at the sign. It began somewhere near the base of his skull and followed along his spine until it had spread through him entirely. Then the feeling inverted and his skin went cold. The hair on his arms stood straight out. It was thrilling, ranking right up there with the rush he’d felt last night after the shooting had stopped and he’d realized he hadn’t been hit. If anything, it was better.
It was so quiet that he could hear the low hum coming from the billboard’s spotlights. Six slightly different tones combining into a curious chord. It might have been engineered to draw him closer.
He remembered television advertisements he’d seen as a kid. A Saturday-morning parade of things he’d wanted desperately and then forgotten about. He didn’t think he was going to forget about this. Of course, he had no use for perfume. He didn’t wear it, and he had no woman to give it to. But that didn’t seem to matter, because what he was feeling was far beyond desire. It was the crushing need a drowning man has for another breath.
He stepped out of the car and looked across the intersection. A flock of small birds, sparrows maybe, came swirling out of the darkness like a storm of leaves. They landed in unison on the roof of the scorched car, then turned toward him. He heard tiny claws tapping on the steel, felt a hundred pairs of black eyes watching him.
He was standing in a neighborhood that was waiting for a wrecking ball. Bulldozers had been idle on its perimeter for months. When the last condemnation orders came, they’d lower their blades and roll. The demolition teams meant to wipe away everything the thieves hadn’t already taken. They would knock down row houses and wire C-4 into century-old factories to make way for the sparkling future. He’d seen the model in City Hall. White concrete and black glass transforming the neighborhood into an autonomous shipping center. An unpopulated city from which driverless delivery trucks would glide north on pavement so smooth, their tires would barely whisper. Drones would hum upward from rooftop landing pads, packages dangling beneath them as they sped over the blocks of unlit tenements and into San Francisco. In City Hall, he’d seen no plan in the models for the residents who would be displaced. Maybe they were supposed to sell bricks.
He reached into the car and switched off the headlights, and then the street was blackout dark. The ruins around him disappeared. There was just the sign.
Finally, he let himself walk out into the intersection. He stared up at the dead actress and the perfume she’d been enlisted to sell. It wasn’t just the woman, wasn’t just the suggestion of her naked body under the sheet. It was the bottle and the lettering and the way the spotlights fell onto the black background, making something so bright out of a void. As if he’d struck a match in a mineshaft, and diamonds in the thousands came glittering back from the walls.
He couldn’t say where the peace came from, but he knew exactly what it was doing. It was cleansing him. Each swell took away a layer of darkness. In a moment he’d be bare; last night would be gone. He stood in the rain and savored that.
He only turned away when his phone rang.
He answered it in the car, wanting to be out of the sign’s reach before he spoke to anyone.
“You coming, or what?”
It didn’t matter what Jenner was saying. He could be dictating a form over the phone, or telling a kid to drop a gun. His voice never rose above dead calm. That made Jenner the kind of man people usually listened to, but the kid last night hadn’t. He hadn’t dropped his gun, either.
“I lose you, Carver?”
“Sorry ?— ?on my way.”
“Call came in and we’re up,” Jenner said. “You knew we were up again, right?”
“Where are you?”
“Close to last night’s scene,” Carver said, after a pause. “There was something I wanted to see again. The call, it came just now?”
“Just now. I hung up, I called you.”
“Be out front in five. We’ll go in my car.”
“You were out there?” Jenner asked. “You got questions about last night?”
“Not about you ?— ?you did just right. Plus there’s video,” Carver said. “So don’t worry about it.”
Carver could see the expressway ahead. No one had stolen the wiring up there ?— ?the commissioners and the mayor could ignore Hunter’s Point until the redevelopment was done, but not the new expressway. Its art de...
Praise for The Night Market
Named an Exciting Mystery/Thriller of Winter 2018 by Bookish
Named an iBooks Most Anticipated Mystery/Thriller of Winter 2018
Named a Best Mystery of 2018 by Maxim Jakuboswki, CrimeTime
“A grim and gripping tale of well-earned paranoia…Moore, an attorney, uses his tight-lipped prose to fine effect… The book’s tone is Chandleresque, the conspiracy worrying Carver and Jenner expands to Pynchonean proportions, and the physical ick they encounter might have oozed out of a Cronenberg movie. But on the whole, I’ll wager, ‘The Night Market’ and its predecessors, ‘The Poison Artist’ and ‘The Dark Room,’ are like nothing you’ve ever read. In his acknowledgments, Moore sums up the novels as ‘a three-panel painting of San Francisco.’ As done, he might have added, by Hieronymus Bosch.” — Washington Post
"Are you one of the many who have cleared their Netflix queue of good television crime drama? Still trying to scratch that sci-fi itch as you wait for 'Westworld' to return? Well, Jonathan Moore’s latest thriller The Night Market will satiate both desires and satisfy both itches immediately...It's “Miami Vice” meets “The Matrix,” and George Orwell is hosting the party. What keeps The Night Market chugging along are those Crockett and Tubbs moments between Carver and Jenner. Mr. Moore’s handling of the partnership exemplifies the chemistry that you’d expect from two battle-scarred vets. The chapters that revolve around their relationship are ones that you won’t want to end...The reader is invested in every little moment of Carver’s detective work. Mr. Moore does such smooth work when describing Ross’ deductive mind that you buy that he's been on the force as long as his five years from mandatory retirement indicates. His self-confidence along with how he handles himself in every situation creates a protagonist one can easily get behind...In between the melding of sci-fi and crime noir, the glue that holds it all together is the engaging relationship between Carter and Mia. Their budding romance isn't forced or mushy, but is developed very organically throughout the book. It never interferes with the looming mystery and helps to cultivate more questions." —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"As upsetting and revealing a book as you are likely to read in this or any year...Mystery and thriller readers will find much to love here, but fans of science fiction also should embrace this incredible work." — Bookreporter.com
"If you’re looking for a good book to curl up with and lull you to sleep, don’t read Jonathan Moore’s The Night Market—it’ll keep you awake all night... In the vein of stories by Blake Crouch or China Mieville, The Night Market completes what Moore calls a 'three-panel painting of San Francisco—a single work, loosely connected.' Reading the other books in Moore’s series—The Poison Artist andThe Dark Room—isn’t necessary, but once you’ve read this one, you’ll be compelled to seek them out anyway. Just be prepared to lose some sleep while reading them." — Bookpage
"In THE NIGHT MARKET, Jonathan Moore is masterful at sustaining cutting-edge suspense. The undertones of conspiracy and speculative science fiction blend perfectly with that suspense to make this a phenomenal thriller." — FreshFiction.com
"A sharp and scary near-future thriller that delivers a dark message about society's love affair with technology...Unsettling, stylish noir...[The] utterly shocking revelations in the third act are the stuff of nightmares. You'll never look at a flock of sparrows the same way again." —Kirkus, starred
"Outstanding...Moore smoothly fills Carver’s quest for the truth with equal parts hidden menace and outright strangeness. This mystery feels like Blade Runner as if it were written by Charles De Lint or Neil Gaiman." —Publishers Weekly, starred
"A chilling near-future thriller that could be described as Blade Runner meets Raymond Chandler. The conspiratorial plot at the center of this dark, gritty novel will make anyone feel paranoid. The meandering pace serves to keep the reader wanting more as each clue unearthed leads the characters closer to a frightening, all-pervasive truth...Readers of noir mysteries as well as lovers of near-futuristic sf will adore this title and will probably want to pick up the other two novels in this loosely connected yet interrelated trilogy." —Library Journal
"A futuristic conspiracy with horrifying implications...Thought-provoking." —Booklist
"What a talent this author has for creating setting and atmosphere...Clever, unique, and unpredictable." —A Book and a Cup of Tea
"[Moore] has a knack for evoking the stuff of nightmares which has me hooked from the first page." —Maxim Jakubowski, CrimeTime
Praise for Jonathan Moore's The Dark Room
A Library Journal "Essential Thriller" of January 2017
An iBooks Best Book of January 2017
A Northern Virginia Magazine Best New Release of January 2017
“Moore channels the moody intensity of Raymond Chandler’s crime fiction and saturates The Dark Room with the brooding cinematic qualities of the mid-20th century’s black-and-white film noir genre...The Dark Room will prompt readers unfamiliar with Moore to seek out his other works, including The Poison Artist, which Stephen King describes as electrifying. ” — The Washington Post
“Smart plotting. Nary a false note. Suspense that never stops. If you like Michael Connelly’s novels, you will gobble up Jonathan Moore’s The Dark Room.” —James Patterson
"Complex, well-crafted thriller... Moore—an attorney and author of three previous novels, including The Poison Artist and Redheads, which was short-listed for the Bram Stoker Award—infuses the complicated tale with richly detailed forensic facts and procedural expertise that would make [Kathy] Reichs proud. At the same time, he makes a concerted effort to craft characters you can care about." —BookPage
"An engaging and thoroughly contemporary mystery...The Dark Room is a worthy introduction to Moore’s work, and will soon have you seeking out his earlier titles (like The Poison Artist or Redheads) while waiting for his next crime novel." —Bookgasm
"Exuding noirish elements and utilizing the city’s mean streets to their full, atmospheric effect, The Dark Room oozes dastardly deeds from blackmail to murder – and beyond." —The Seattle Review of Books
"The Dark Room is a complex, edgy, elegant novel that is at once macabre, menacing and mesmerizing. Moore calls
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