Big Machine by Victor LaValle

Big Machine

Victor LaValle

Prostitutes, drug users and murderers are the main characters in a somewhat surreal book which contains elements of black humour, science fiction and horror. In the end though it was the human spirit and its ability to survive against the odds which kept me reading.


I've described the color, but there's still the stench to explain. Imagine a dying mule vomiting a soiled diaper all over your sweaty feet. The pipe smelled worse than that. Plus rancid milk was in there somewhere. What a bouquet. Our sniffled breathing made us both sound panicked as our legs sloshed through this pancake batter.
The Grey Lady hesitated, stopped moving actually, and I took the opportunity to get as close to her as I could. Rudely, I popped the flashlight right in her face. She squinted and curled her lips and showed her uneven teeth. The little razor bumps on her neck looked like a bad rash.

  • Pym by Mat Johnson
  • A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami
  • Lightborn by Tricia Sullivan

Books with similar mood

Ninefox Gambit

Yoon Ha Lee

The English Monster

Lloyd Shepherd

The Electric Church

Jeff Somers

The Girl with all the Gifts

M R Carey

Bad Blood

Rhiannon Lassiter

The Dogs of Riga

Henning Mankell

He Kills Coppers

Jake Arnott

The President's Gardens

Muhsin Al-Ramli

Beside Myself

Ann Morgan

The Frozen Dead

Bernard Minier

The Shining Girls

Lauren Beukes

Whispers from the Doll's House

Christopher Muir

The Dervish House

Ian McDonald

Gargling with Tar

Jachym Topol

Tell No One

Harlan Coben

Miss Smilla's Feeling For Snow

Peter Hoeg

The Good Son

You-jeong Jeong


Affinity Konar

Call It Dog

Marli Roode

The Humorist

Russell Kane

Little Hands Clapping

Dan Rhodes

Schopenhauer's Telescope

Gerard Donovan

Star of the North

D B John

The Kills

Richard House

City of the Dead

Sara Gran


Gordon Reece

The Quiet Twin

Dan Vyleta


Rose Tremain

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

Carrie Ryan

A Whistling Woman

A S Byatt

Falling Out of Cars

Jeff Noon


G X Todd

The Machine

James Smythe

The Golden Scales

Parker Bilal

The Missing

Tim Gautreaux

Skin Lane

Neil Bartlett

The Friday Gospels

Jenn Ashworth

Kingdom of Strangers

Zoe Ferraris

Slaughter's Hound

Declan Burke

Thirsty River

Rodaan Al Galidi

The Warsaw Anagrams

Richard Zimler

Talk of the Town

Jacob Polley

The Knife of Never Letting Go

Patrick Ness

Land of the Living

Nicci French

My Name is Salma

Fadia Faqir

Frankenstein in Baghdad

Ahmed Saadawi

The Recollection

Gareth L Powell

Seven Houses in France

Bernardo Atxaga

Seventy Times Seven

John Gordon Sinclair