In the early 1920s, young Saul Imbierowicz has just set out on his own and managed to wrangle a night shift at the post office. He lives a quiet life, barely making ends meet, but a relationship with the fiery Moira shatters his world when she’s killed during a mob shootout on the streets of Chicago. Except…she’s not dead. Moira drags Saul kicking and screaming into the shadowy underworld. Rival mob bosses want Saul for a job, and the Feds are on both of their tails. Saul struggles to keep his head above water but quickly becomes entangled in a race against time filled with gunfights, double-crossing, and the paranormal.
Unremarkable blends historical fiction and urban fantasy to interesting effect. The story takes place in an alternate history where the legendary mob bosses and federal agents of the ’20s battle it out with vampires and potentially more. The elements of the noir genre peppered throughout give the book a unique feel, namely through character voices and gritty scene settings.
The characters tend to be flat and cliché. Saul is a prime example. As the main character, he does little of his own volition. The plot advances as Saul reacts to each new threat and development. He’s ushered from scene to scene and rarely makes any first-hand choices. This makes for a difficult hero to root for or care about when he’s caught in the eddies of the narrative.
The prose suffers some minor missteps. A key example is when sections start off with intriguing promise only to flounder about before moving on to the next. The paranormal elements hinted at early on feel tacked on and not fully explored. While the book is obviously the first in the series, stronger world-building and narrative foundations early on are lacking. The obvious twist at the end is made even more obvious with the compressed ending.
Much of the early book suffers from stagnancy. These chapters revolve around Saul being pushed from mob boss to mob boss before struggling with work, only to loop back again. For an already short book, the early repetitiveness is even more glaring. The brevity and repetition make it feel like a longer book split up to create a series and don’t allow space for the mystery to build up and for the readers to sympathize with the characters.
Despite some minor missteps, Unremarkable by Geoff Habiger and Coy Kissee pits an everyman against increasingly dangerous situations before a shocking reveal. Potential sequels seem poised to build upon the narrative foundations with a glimmer of promise. Fans of historical fiction, urban fantasy, and gritty noir should pick up a copy.
|Author||Geoff Habiger & Coy Kissee|
|Page Count||216 pages|
|Publisher||Shadow Dragon Press|
|Bookshop.org||Buy this Book|