This book was sent to me by Titan Books in exchange for an honest review.
17.04.18 / Titan Books / Mystery-Mythology / Paperback / 496pp / 978-1785656576
Target Audience: Readers who love mythology, supernatural murder-mysteries and fantastical imagery. Explores so many cool characters, a meaningful setting and the narrative is packed full of personality.
About The City Of Lost Fortunes
Post–Katrina New Orleans is a place haunted by its history and by the hurricane’s destruction. Street magician Jude Dubuisson is likewise burdened by his past and by the storm, because he has a secret: the magical ability to find lost things, a gift passed down to him by the father he has never known.
Jude has been lying low since the storm, which caused so many things to be lost that it played havoc with his magic. But his retirement ends abruptly when the Fortune god of New Orleans is murdered and Jude is drawn back into the world he tried so desperately to leave. A world full of magic, monsters, and miracles. A world where he must find out who is responsible for the Fortune god’s death, uncover the plot that threatens the city’s soul, and discover what his talent has always been trying to show him: what it means to be his father’s son.
Bryan Camp’s The City Of Lost Fortunes is a thrilling and engrossing journey through divinity and mortality. A tale of duality, of magic and mythology. A story that encompasses a world of culture and belief, and explores every kind of god, monster and creature you could ever imagine. This book could be described as supernatural, horror, thriller, magical, fantasy, murder-mystery and it really is all these things but ultimately it is an immensely cool and deeply touching ode to a city that lost everything.
When I read American Gods by Neil Gaiman, I was disappointed because it didn’t meet my expectations at all. When I read The City Of Lost Fortunes by Bryan Camp, I was overwhelmed because it surpassed my expectations by an absolute mile. This novel is like American Gods meets Constantine with even more outstanding imagery and a ton of personality. Street Magician/Demigod Jude Dubuisson is (what I imagine) a perfect encapsulation of how the people of New Orleans felt before and after the destructive power of hurricane Katrina. Half man/half god with the power to find things that are lost, when New Orleans was destroyed, everything became lost. This tore a rift in Jude, made him fear his power, anything he touches releasing the fear and pain of a city.
The novel takes place six years after the events of Katrina, with a Jude that is in hiding from everyone, including himself. When he is found by an old partner and invited to a backroom card game with New Orleans’ God Of Fortune, Jude finds himself in an impossible to win situation with the mysterious murder of a god that he must solve before he loses everything and jeopardises the future of his beloved city.
This narrative was superb, constantly evolving as the outcome of Jude’s card game changes with his actions and reveals. As I was reading I felt that literally anything could happen. It was interesting to have such a bold story grounded by the unbelievable misfortune of a real life city. Influenced by the world’s mythology and spiritual arts like Tarot and voodoo, there is a lot to enjoy within this novel.
The imagery that Bryan Camp has generated with TCOLT is fascinating with mixing and blending different styles and varieties of power and each entity that holds it. He is not scared to throw his creative weight around and jump between intensity and insightfulness at the drop of a hat. Character development is BC’s other strong point with a complex main character who is on a full circle journey, an individual who has conflicts (race, parenthood), meaning and is trapped between two versions of himself, old and new.
With a cast of memorable secondary characters and plenty of unusual villains, (I need some fan art of Mourning) there is many reasons to pick up the book. The sheer amount of gods (Anubis, Hermes, Odin), Mythical Beings (Angels, Psychopomps) and Creatures (zombies, vampires) that BC squeezed into this story without overwhelming, its intricacy was impressive. With one foot in the material realm and one in the spiritual, Jude has to deal with every kind of monster you can imagine, including a shadow hitman who is leaving a trail of Jude’s accomplices in its wake.
The places this novel takes the reader is inspired and I couldn’t get enough. There are plenty of dark moments and themes that bleed together twisting the thoughts and actions of its characters making them unpredictable which, I have said before and will say again, is incredibly cool. I also really loved the short entries that prefixed the story that concerned the history and mythology of cultures, they were very insightful and moreish. Yes I realise I am gushing but it has been so long since I had a book that caught me so off guard. The last one was Kings Of The Wyld by Nicholas Eames!
There are some issues I can see some readers encountering during a reading of TCOLT. It is quite a long read, it is 477 pages but it feels longer because it is dense with detail. There are seven parts to the story (7!) each with a different feel and flow but all anchored by the same moment in time which I thought was quite clever. Another mini issue I had was I felt that the extra awesome bits were not explored as much as I could of wanted but I know there is more novels to come so I can see that BC is holding things back.
I wholeheartedly recommend The City Of Lost Fortunes to all fantasy, mythology and mystery lovers, you will undoubtedly have a great time with this novel. I also recommend this to readers who are looking for something unusual, refreshing and challenging. I went into The City Of Lost Fortunes with uncertainty but I left with a thirst for more. I now have another mythology author I can rely on for a great read.
About Bryan Camp
Bryan Camp is a graduate of the University of New Orleans MFA program and the Clarion West Writer’s Workshop. He lives and teaches in New Orleans.