The Bottom Line: One of the year’s most memorable heroes embarks on a high-velocity quest to save the only woman he’s ever cared about. Leon’s jaw-dropping courage in a world of sleaze and unimaginable danger is pure magic.
“I know this letter will hurt you.” So begins the suicide letter that opens Brett Garcia Rose’s latest novel, Noise. Written by a woman named Lily to her brother, Leon, it’s a punch in the gut – precisely because the two are so close – that Leon isn’t willing to accept without proof.
Denial is the driving force that sends Leon, a deaf adoptee from Nigeria, on a mission to find his sister. Early on, we learn that despite Leon’s having lost track of Lily’s whereabouts, he doesn’t believe that she could be capable of killing herself. He interprets the suicide letter as a cry for help, and as anyone standing in his way finds, Leon’s level of motivation is nothing short of lethal.
Leon is a large man who rips out tree trunks for a living and drives a monster truck. And yet the first time he’s confronted with a weapon – while pursuing down his only clue in a tawdry house of ill-repute – his deafness is the very thing that disarms his would-be attacker and saves him.
While Garcia Rose has created a classic quest thriller, he’s no less devoted to the art of wordsmithing. Noise features some of the most lush language you’ll find in the genre, at times resembling the carefully crafted prose of Cormac McCarthy.
From the start, it’s quite clear that Leon isn’t going to like what he finds in his journey, and we’re soon introduced to The Bear, a sadistic Russian crime lord who traffics in human flesh.
But the only direction Leon can go his forward, and that’s exactly what will keep you turning the pages.