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Love is the Law by Nick Mamatas

This entry is part 27 of 27 in the series 2022 Reads

I read this back in June, between the end of spring semester and the start of summer semester. I’ve been slow posting these—I’m about twenty books behind, so I’ll probably pick up the pace now. 


Love is the Law has been on my Kindle for quite a while now, but I finally got around to it early this summer. It’s a spiky novel bristling with bitterness and snark, which makes sense given the fusion of punk, underground Communism, and Crowleian occultism embraced by its protagonist, who is investigating the murder of her occult mentor, or… well, the relationship is complicated, but that’s close enough. 

The engine of the story is a murder mystery, but really it feels a bit more like a kind of brutal underworld odyssey, a narrative baseball bat with nails through the end, bashing its way through one after another encounter with the dregs of humanity in all its various forms. It’s a mosh pit of a book, experienced through the point of view of woman who finds herself tossed into the middle of an awful mess, only to discover this that she’s caught in a trap much darker and more dangerous than she’d imagined. The darkness here involves the intertwined awfulness of a deranged family, the insanity of the 80s in both the cultural and the political senses. 

It’s a fairly quick read (or it was, once I managed to carve some time out for it) and some of the minor—and not-so-minor—characters amused me, as did some of the “prescient” political commentary Mamatas includes toward the end. (Which is a good thing, because without the occasional laugh, the grimness of some of the book’s events and the spikiness of its protagonist might have proved too much for me.) Even so, the novel didn’t overtake I Am Providence and Bullettime as my favorites by Mamatas.

Series Navigation<< <em>Scourge of the Scornlords: Meatlandia Book III</em> by Ahimsa Kerp and Wind Lothamer
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