Published: October 13th, 2009
trade paperback -
ebook - available
360 pages

Two dead, only one of them human. What will happen if Finch uncovers the truth? And will the fantastical city of Ambergris ever be the same?

Tasked with solving an impossible double murder, detective John Finch searches for the truth among the rubble of the once-mighty city of Ambergris. Under the rule of the mysterious gray caps, Ambergris is falling into anarchy. The remnants of a rebel force are demoralized and dispersed, their leader, the Lady in Blue, not seen for months. Partials—human traitors transformed by the gray caps—walk the streets brutalizing the city's inhabitants. Finch's partner Wyte, stricken with a fungal disease, is literally disintegrating. And strange forces are marshaling themselves against detective Finch even as he pursues his one clue: the elusive spymaster Ethan Bliss. How much time does Finch have before time itself runs out?


"The mashup of dreamscape and hard-boiled narrative makes for a sublime reading experience, The Big Sleep as fever dream. Fortunately, it takes only one mostly sleepless night for a reader to make the subterranean journey to Ambergris and back--with absinthe and magic mushrooms optional."
Barnes & Noble Review

"VanderMeer creates a dense and persuasive imaginary universe, in which the things that also belong in our universe—tanks, whiskey, revolvers, the paranoid feel of a Raymond Chandler or James Ellroy whodunit —strike us as oddly comforting. Finch suffers extravagantly—not just at the hands of bad guys, but because he's still capable of love as well as violence. Down these alien streets, as Chandler might say, goes a man who is not himself alien, and we're willing to follow him almost anywhere."
Lost Angeles Times

"[An] intriguing and highly original novel. Finch, as should be clear, plays with the conventions of detective novels. Grizzled sleuth? Check. Mysterious woman who brings trouble? At least two. And a plot with more twists than the health-care debate. Despite these trappings, though, Finch wriggles from the grip of easy categorization. It's full of fantastical elements and genuinely humane ones, too. VanderMeer can write beautifully, summarizing the deprivations of life in war-torn Ambergris, for instance, with haunting subtlety. The story's final moments may seem triumphant, but this complex novel rejects simple conclusions."
Washington Post Book World

"Finch is a class act. An intriguing blend of SF and hardboiled procedural, it succeeds through Vandermeer's skill with narrative and his absolute belief in the world that he has created . . . This is a story that could have been told in no other way; expands beyond its initial feeling of noir with fungal weaponry to become something far larger, stranger and more intriguing. And it does all of this while maintaining an emotional and very human core."
Crime Scene Scotland

"As the disparate threads, personal and political, of VanderMeer's plot converge, Finch takes on a dire momentum that readers will find difficult to resist."
Realms of Fantasy

"Readers of mystery and crime fiction of any stripe would be doing themselves a favor by trying Finch; those who do will be amply rewarded. For me, as someone who genuinely enjoys a lot of different types and genres of fiction, Finch is one of the best books that I've read in years."
BookSpot Central

"Surreal and at times intoxicating, Finch is ambitious in a way that few genre novels ever are."

"The story is oddly beautiful, like Salvador Dali's The Persistence of Memory the novel is fascinating in its strangeness."
SF Signal


Jeff VanderMeer is an award-winning writer with fiction published in over 20 countries. His books, including the bestselling City of Saints & Madmen, have made the year's best lists of Publishers Weekly, LA Weekly, Amazon, The San Francisco Chronicle, and many more. Considered one of the foremost SF/fantasy writers of his generation, he has worked with rock band The Church, 30 Days of Night creator Ben Templesmith, Dark Horse Comics, and Playstation Europe on various projects including music soundtracks and short films. His nonfiction appears regularly in The Washington Post and on the Amazon book blog, Omnivoracious. With his wife Ann (they have been cited by Boing Boing as a literary "power couple"), he is also an award-winning editor whose books include the iconic Steampunk anthology. VanderMeer is a frequent guest of honor at events around the world, including Bumbershoot (Seattle), Utopiales (France), and the Brisbane Writers Festival (Australia).