Zodiac, the brilliant second novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the The Baroque Cycle and Snow Crash, is now available from Grove Press. Meet Sangamon Taylor, a New Age Sam Spade who sports a wet suit instead of a trench coat and prefers Jolt from the can to Scotch on the rocks. He knows about chemical sludge the way he knows about evil—all too intimately. And the toxic trail he follows leads to some high and foul places. Before long Taylor’s house is bombed, his every move followed, he’s adopted by reservation Indians, moves onto the FBI’s most wanted list, makes up with his girlfriend, and plays a starring role in the near-assassination of a presidential candidate. Closing the case with the aid of his burnout roommate, his tofu-eating comrades, three major networks, and a range of unconventional weaponry, Sangamon Taylor pulls off the most startling caper in Boston Harbor since the Tea Party.
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Neil Stephenson has matured as a writer, and it didn't take much effort to realize that this book predates Snow Crash, but is obviously better than The Big U, at least according to the impression I get of his first book. Still, as a Stephenson aficionado I feel obligated to read all his works, starting from the earliest, so The Big U it is. (It's a good thing I’m not an Isaac Asimov aficionado.)
Next book I read, I'm going to keep a stack of Post-It-Notes handy so that I can tag and later list out all the typos I find. Because Zodiac sure was full of them. The writing style decayed a bit towards the last several chapters. I have no complaints about the story, though, as implausible as it may seem, which would have (and still would) make a great movie.