The Dead Do Not Improve book review

Jay Caspian Kang

Time In

Surfing homicide detectives, cultish health-food restaurant drones, ex film stars: Jay Caspian Kang’s San Francisco isn’t exactly the Coen brothers’ Los Angeles, but the playful satire of Kang’s slacker noir is enough to think of it in the same genre as The Big Lebowski.

Overqualified and underemployed, Philip Kim trolls blogs and Googles himself to stave off boredom. After stumbling across some odd evidence involving the death of a neighbour, he’s drawn into a web of intrigue with a friend’s mysterious pupil. Detective Sid ‘Keanu’ Finch meanders his way onto the case, working to overcome his bitterness long enough to crack it.
Philip and Sid make great companions, ruminating about the city, surf breaks and romance. But the haphazard plot points serve Kang’s interest in Californian subcultures much more than they propel the narrative. Matthew Love

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