ARC Review: A Futuristic Crime Thriller

Titanium Noir by Nick Harkaway

Publication Date: May 16, 2023

Summary from NetGalley:

A virtuosic mashup of Philip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler by way of Marvel—the story of a detective investigating the murder of a Titan, one of society’s most powerful, medically-enhanced elites

Cal Sounder is a detective working for the police on certain very sensitive cases. So when he’s called in to investigate a homicide at a local apartment, he’s surprised by the routineness of it all. But when he arrives on scene, Cal soon learns that the victim—Roddy Tebbit, an otherwise milquetoast techie—is well over seven feet tall. And although he doesn’t look a day over thirty, he is ninety-one years old. Tebbit is a Titan—one of this dystopian, near-future society’s genetically altered elites. And this case is definitely Cal’s thing.

There are only a few thousand Titans worldwide, thanks to Stefan Tonfamecasca’s discovery of the controversial T7 genetic therapy, which elevated his family to godlike status. T7 turns average humans into near-immortal distortions of themselves—with immense physical proportions to match their ostentatious, unreachable lifestyles. A dead Titan is big news . . . a murdered Titan is unimaginable. But these modified magnates are Cal’s specialty. In fact, his own ex-girlfriend, Athena, is a Titan. And not just any—she is Stefan’s daughter, heir to the massive Tonfamecasca empire.  

As the murder investigation intensifies, Cal begins to unravel the complicated threads of what should have been a straightforward case, and it becomes clear he’s on the trail of a crime whose roots run deep into the dark heart of the world.

ARC provided by Knopf Publishing via NetGalley for an honest review.


This was a really interesting and kind of fun read. I really got classic film noir vibes from it and could totally see a dark almost black and white movie made from it, something along the lines of Blade Runner.

Cal Sounder totally reminds me of many of those classic detectives. He just can’t let a case lie, even if it kills him. He just has to know the truth. Cal also has a bit of a past that is alluded to in the story, but isn’t totally laid out. His past does have to do with the Tonfamecasca family which is why he is always brought in on cases that have to deal with Titans. Although the other characters in the book didn’t like Cal all that much, I was totally happy spending time with him in this story.

The setting for this story was phenomenal, as was the world building. The city totally reminds me of a dirtier, gritier New York or Chicago. Cal of course visits many of the seedier parts of time which were depicted with realistic yet a modicum of words to get the point across. The Titans were also well described as was the treatment that they went through to achieve ‘immortality’. I was not a big fan of most of the Titans we meet in the story.

The plot was well done, with lots of twists that I really did not see coming. I kept having this feeling though, that this book was part of a series. There were times when things that happened in the past were alluded to in such a way that the narrator assumed you knew what he was talking about, but I didn’t have a clue. There were also a few times when I felt that I had missed something along the way in the plot, especially towards the end. There were also some minor storylines that didn’t totally feel wrapped up by the end either, but this was not super important to the final conclusion.

Overall, I did enjoy this story. It was innovative and very well crafted. I loved the 30’s detective noir vibes mashed with a futuristic setting. I think this will appeal to a wide range of readers who like their detective stories with a complex plot and futuristic setting.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.