Into Twilight: Cyberpunk Noir Meets The Cold War

Spoilers: PR Adams’ Into Twilight is good. It’s one of the rare few that made me impulse-buy the sequel without checking blurbs or reviews.

The story follows Stefan Mendoza, a sometime soldier, full-time gangster assassin. The opening sequence sees Mendoza sanded down by road rash in a brutal combat scene. What follows is a redemption story, embedded within an overt plot of “assassinating a US Sentator.” It reads like a spy thriller, with intricate shadow-behind-the-throne subplots. What’s more interesting is it’s set within a cyberpunk enclosure; most of today’s cyberpunk is rank-and-file filler, without the genius that went into genre leaders like Neuromancer or Altered Carbon. Into Twilight has the necessary depth to shine; this isn’t indie dumpster-diving, but well-tailored storytelling.

The story reminded me of Lee Child’s novels. Mendoza is a futuristic Jack Reacher, getting the job done despite the corrupt power arrayed against him. He’s a once-was-bad man, trying for a sliver of righteousness as both his own clock and America’s wind into gloom. He’s got skills to take down the bad people, and fumbles enough with the good so you know he hasn’t mastered being a saint. Mendoza knows the inner clockwork of how humans function, and uses this to wrangle his team toward their assassination target. He’s got an old partner in Danny, a confusion of emotions in dead friend’s daughter Ichi, and like most of us would, struggles to communicate with Chan, the hacker of the group.

I mentioned it was cyberpunk, but it feels more like a cold war novel. The city is cold, the streets icy. Shadowy deals are done off the grid. An overworked FBI know all, but take little action. Former allies turn against Mendoza and his team, coring their accounts, and leaving them with nowhere to run. The tech of the world is a backdrop against which the story unfolds; take away the cyberpunk noir, and you’d still have an excellent spy novel.

Action, politics, sex, power, money, and greed – it’s all here. I’ll admit as the story unfolded, and Mendoza’s usually-flexible moral compass rails against his mission, I wondered how this would wrap up. Would Adams give us a story where the hero fails? Can success be stolen from a pile of ashes? I don’t want to give anything away, but the end of this book was satisfying.

Get it today – you won’t be disappointed. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


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