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The Reign of the Kingfisher

A Novel
Written by: T. J. Martinson
Narrated by: L. J. Ganser
Length: 13 hrs and 27 mins

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Publisher's Summary

"The Reign of the Kingfisher is an extraordinary novel. Martinson's prose is so stunning, and his characters so indelible, that I'd suggest you read it even if you don't read comic books and have little interest in superheroes." (Emily St. John Mandel, best-selling author of Station Eleven) 

Thirty years ago, a superhero tried to save Chicago. Now, the city is again under siege, in this gritty, suspenseful, and beautifully written story from award-winning debut author T.J. Martinson. 

Somewhere in Chicago, a roomful of people has been taken hostage. The hostages will be killed one by one, the masked gunman says on-screen, unless the police will admit they faked the death of the legendary superhero called the Kingfisher and helped him to give up his defense of the city 30 years ago.  

Retired reporter Marcus Waters made his name as a journalist covering the enigmatic superhero’s five years of cleaning up Chicago’s streets. Then the Kingfisher died, Chicago resumed its violent turmoil, and Marcus slid back into obscurity.   

But did the Kingfisher really die? And who would take hostages connected to the Kingfisher's past attempts to clean up the streets? 

With the help of disgraced police officer Lucinda Tillman and a young hacktivist named Wren, Marcus will explore the city's violence, corruption, and chaos to figure out if the vigilante hero died tragically or gave up hope and abandoned the city - and for the hostages, the clock is ticking.

©2019 T. J. Martinson (P)2019 Macmillan Audio

What members say

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  • Laura Dice
  • 2019-08-17

So disappointed

Perhaps I was misled by the review that I read but this is not a novel about a modern day Fisher King which is what I was led to believe. There’s no mythic element to it no superhero element just very mundane.

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  • David
  • 2019-06-26

what a debit!

T.J. Martinson can really tell a story. It is hard to believe this is his first novel.

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  • Jim N
  • 2019-05-10

A solid debut

A well-written book that plays with familiar superhero and crime novel tropes. Ultimately, The Reign of the Kingfisher is more of the latter and one of it's big mysteries was a little too easy to figure out. The Kingfisher himself serves as more of a macguffin which is a shame since the novel's most interesting and original ideas center around that character. I enjoyed this but it all came together a little too conveniently for me.

L. J. Ganser does his usual good job with the narration.

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  • Mo McQ
  • 2019-03-17

beautifully written, suspenseful, genre bending!

I adore Chicago, and I love any crime story involving police & detective work. If you’re the same, this book is 100% for you. Even if that isn’t your cup of tea, this book cuts across multiple genres and has something for everyone. It is fast and suspenseful, just as it is magical and thought provoking—with a mysterious superhero that challenges readers to reflect on the roles superheroes play (or could play) in our society. This novel is a literary masterpiece— each line is perfectly crafted, and each character is so tangible that you will find yourself thinking about them long after the story has ended. The central role of setting and the diversity of characters are also noteworthy elements of this terrific read. I especially loved it as an audiobook bc the narrator does a superb job of bringing the diverse characters to life and emphasizing the carefully crafted lines. Highly recommend it!

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  • bp
  • 2019-03-14

Better than I expected!

Got this book on the recommendation of a friend. Wasn't sure it was going to be my type but started listening. The writing immediately hooked me as everything was described so perfectly. The imagery captured my attention and the story line kept it. Really enjoyed the book.