Title: Shadowrun #4: 2XS
Author: Nigel D. Findley
Published By: ROC Fantasy
Year Published: 1992
Page Count: 324
Notes: 2XS (pronounced To Excess) is possibly the best Shadowrun novel you will ever read. The story is told in the first person and deals with the life and times of one Derek Montgomery (known as Dirk, on the streets).
Dirk is a hardboiled detective type in the vein of Dashiell Hammett’s Sam Spade (made famous by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon). The difference, of course, is the setting. While Spade dealt with crime figures and loose women in the late 1930’s-1940’s, Dirk deals with life in Seattle in the mid-21st Century (2052, to be exact).
Within the world of Shadowrun, magic has resurfaced and mythological creatures roam the streets of what is called the “Awakened World.” Based loosely on the Mayan prophesy of great change in 2012, the world of Shadowrun states that the “great change” was magic becoming real. The Sixth World is the setting of this science-fantasy adventure.
It is against this backdrop that Montgomery finds himself, quite unwittingly, drawn into a conspiracy that will shake the very foundations of the Sixth World. The opening line of the book sets the tone immediately:
If this thing could be said to have started anywhere, I suppose it started with a woman with a gun.
With this opening, Findley (who died in 1995) begins a narrative that is spellbinding. It so opens the world of Shadowrun that even people new to the setting (it’s based on a role-playing game of the same name) can easily see how the world fits together and gain a ton of insight into the milieu.
The story is tight, the characters well-developed, and the action is clear and flows logically from one scene to the next. Findley skillfully weaves the various pieces of this tapestry together to create a cohesive whole.
If anything detracts from the text, it is the presence of a handful of editing errors; characters misnamed and minor punctuation errors. Otherwise the book is excellent.
Grade: A must read, if you are a Shadowrun fan. Five Goons out of Five.