Just as I’d hoped, the selections I’ve had from the contest are all over the place. I’ve had contemporary quest fiction, compelling non-fiction, a hard-boiled detective story, and now a sci-fi techno-thriller.
SHADOW OF A DEAD STAR, by Michael Shean is grim. A noir’s noir of the Blade Runner sort, which is pretty much outside what I can thoroughly enjoy, but it does have points to recommend it. In fact, its relentlessness is probably exactly what has earned it the good reviews it’s enjoyed. Shean has vividly imagined the futurescape of Seattle and the gadgetry that runs the daily grind and entertains the people of tomorrow, and there is a good dose of very cool stuff in this element of the book.
But technology has underscored the worst in humanity pretty much across the board. The debauchery is inventive and somehow inevitable and the underworld isn’t as under as it seemed to be in gentler times, which leaves plenty for our dour hero, Tom Walken of Industrial Security, to do. Action and intrigue, rain and pain are in plentiful supply, and between good cops and bad cops, nothing ever changes, no matter how many centuries pass.