Taking the 52 Book Challenge, I’ve promised myself to start a new book every week this year….but I never said anything about finishing them. Below are my impressions (and predictions) after reading only 104 pages of David Wong’s Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits.
What I Know (Pages 1 – 155)
Chapter 1 – 10: Zoey Ashe discovers during one shit storm of a phone call that her father has died, and that any number of ruthless, license-to-kill, (bumbling) maniacs are currently fighting over a six figure finder’s fee for her safe return to Tabula Ra$a – a “Las Vegas” of futuristic decadence and wealth…a tweeting man’s ancient Greece, if you will.
The Suits, a group of well dressed bodyguards employed by Zoey’s late father Arthur Livingston (an eternal 13 year-old-boy that has playboy bunny holograms throughout his house, and every measure of immaturity-gone-wild imaginable) , attempt to escort Zoey to her father’s estate in hopes to unlock a safe that only she can open. Needless to say, some other people are interested in getting to Zoey before the Suits but they only seem like the lesser of two evils and Zoey spends most of her time trying to escape back to the trailer park, and away from her father’s associates. Eventually they coerce her into opening a very disappointing vault.
PS – she also has a cat named Stench Machine that seems more trouble than he’s worth.
Chapter 11 – 15: The Vault door opens to reveal a single silver coin…and her father, Arthur Livingston…as a hologram. The hologram addresses Zoey, apologizing for his absence in her life before leaving her his entire estate as his last will and testament. Zoey promptly fires The Suits and is left alone in the unguarded mansion. She orders a pizza and settles in for the night.
The delivery guy takes a while to get there but eventually he shows up and DING DONG! it’s the steel-jawed maniac killer. Things look grim for a minute but a mysterious Armando saves the day and replaces The Suits has her personal bodyguard.
In the morning, Zoey realizes that she hasn’t fired he butler, which is good because he makes mean deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. Arthur and Budd (Suits) return to the house to explain their worth to Livingston Inc. They convince Zoey to meet with Will at the site where her father was killed. Budd lets drop that Arthur was a father figure to Will and whether employed or not, will not rest until he knows that the businesses affairs are taken proper care of.
What I Assume Happens (Pages 156 – 343)
Chapters 16-20: Zoey meets Will in the rubble of a building that killed her father when it collapsed. He expresses the respect and admiration he had for Zoey’s father. Zoey still thinks her father was a crook so Will sets out to explain the (mostly) legitimate work they did together and how to proceed without liquidating everything to the competition. Before they can come to an agreement, Molech’s men descend, killing Armando and snatching Stench Machine in the scuffle. Zoey and The Suits narrowly escape, regrouping in a secret underground panic room beneath the city’s largest strip club, to plan their comeback attack.
Chapters 21-29: Zoey demands answers. She wants to know exactly what business her father was in and why every new wave of mercenaries is more and more unnatural. The group that came for them in the rubble of the Livingston Tower were more machine than man!
Will explains that her father was an arms manufacturer whose weapons where are effective as they were creative. His most popular weapon was an elaborate firework display that write any message in the sky to your enemies before each rocket that comprised the letters came raining back down on the unfortunate son-of-a-bitch underneath. These made him a fortune overnight because of the increasing level of showmanship that came with every new terrorist cell. Some wrote entire manifestos in the skies over the infidels.
Arthur also had an obsession with creating true Artificial Intelligence that abruptly ended one day some twenty years ago. But this new breed of hired-gun is showing up with tech resembling some of the breakthroughs Arthur had made in the field before giving up and “destroying” his research.
Chapters 30-39: Molech calls. His hologram has been updated to a photo f Stench Machine in a Guillotine. He assures The Suits that no harm will come to the smelly cat, so long as Zoey hands over the Silver Coin left in Arthur’s vault alongside the hologram. No one is happy about the prospects of this meeting but agree all the same.
In person, Molech reveals the stolen documents and blueprints from Arthur’s cloud storage account. The blueprints are detailed and manic, each page outlining a new limb or “Digital Cortex”. It isn’t until they reach the final schematic that they see Zoey’s face, quartered and measured and drawn in the same blank stare she sees on Blink 24/7….
Chapters 40-49: While Zoey and The Suits are distracted with the blueprints, Molech’s men overpower The Suits and carry Zoey to a surgical table. Strapped down, Molech pulls the Silver Coin from her pocket and places it on the small of her back. Molech seems very surprised when nothing happens. The group remains still, unsure what he was expecting would happen. Frustrated, Molech order her to be killed, when Will shouts “Take your hands off my sister!”. We discover Will is the biological son of Arthur Livingston, while Zoey was considered his greatest creation. A scuffle ensues, the group escapes (Let’s assume that…Budd dies. I know! So sad but also poetic, right?
Chapters 50-59: Back at the mansion, Zoey pulls the real silver coin from the cat carrier and eyes it closely. The Suits help her up onto a table and like a skeleton key tramp stamp it sinks, dissolving into her skin and resting in a perfectly manufactured holding tray. Lighting Bolts shoot from her eyes and the power goes out. They sit in the dark for a few moments. Zoey screams and when she comes to, she can control EVERYTHING. She is the robotic construction crew demolition a non-profit to make way for a burrito chain. She is the miraculous run of green lights a group of bank robbers luck into on their way to the hideout. She is the subway, and the streetcars, and the transit numbers that movie funds from one account to another. She, is the heart of the city.
And somehow that translates into vanquishing their enemies and saving the day. Good work team!
Chapters 60-69: There are 69 chapters in this book?! Hilarious. (SPOILER – I saw some fan art online and it may have given away few moments from the end of the novel, IDK) With Molech gone and an entire corporation on autopilot, Zoey and Will take some time to step away from everything and attend an overdue funeral service for their father. Arthur has planned it all so they sit back, get settled in with a deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches to watch his ashes explode into the sky to reveal of gigantic fist giving the entire world The Finger.