Picture this: a massive asteroid is careening toward Earth and only one person has the technical know-how in order to save the planet. Then, fast-forward sixty some odd years, to where the world has been saved! Mission accomplished! But now the scientist that saved the world feels threatened, so, naturally, she reaches out to the person who ran her security while she was saving the world. Only problem is, she’s dead when he arrives. Thankfully, in the years following saving the world, our MC (who is unnamed the entire story…) became a detective, so he should be able to handle this, right? Well, sort of. For a book featuring a trained detective, he acts more like a private investigator. A really grumpy, gloomy, cynical middle-aged PI who often wallows in self-pity, but, you know, still a PI. This book sounded so interesting! But I don’t think it delivered on what the synopsis promised, which was a letdown.
This story started out with that noir feel I was looking for, but quickly lost it once we left the Water City and didn’t come back to it until much later in the book. Noir has a seedy, dark feel where you’re going through dangerous alley’s and crashing clandestine meetings in clubs etc. Most of this story happens in a tropical paradise, not even in crowded cities, so the vibe I wanted quickly went away. I also was expecting more procedure considering the main character is a cop, but that quickly went out the window, too, and our main character relied on his special abilities more than anything else. He then follows that up with leaps in logic to figure out what’s happening, and when he isn’t doing that, he’s being actively hunted by the person he’s looking for anyway.
The action, and the plot of the story gets interrupted constantly with long, meandering discussions of how the world has changed from the main character’s youth. How much the world has altered, for better and worse, and how we got here as the human race. It was really interesting world building, honestly! But there was more of that then the actual crime solving, murder, and conspiracy plotlines, which made the overall story drag a bit. The book focused more on how we, as a society, are heading toward the future the author depicts in his book, which is, again, really interesting! But that’s not what I went into this story looking for, either, so I was a bit disappointed.
I think I was just expecting something different from this book based on the synopsis. I LOVE crime and mystery sci-fi with those cyberpunk and noir vibes. That’s what I thought this would mostly be. But instead, I was getting fed up with listening to the MC wallowing in self-pity and not really doing anything a detective should, even if the case was personal to him. The numerous side track world building explanations were cool, but there were too many in comparison to what the plot was trying to focus on, so things ended up feeling rather disjointed between what the MC was doing, and then the leap he’d make in figuring stuff out—it was very stream of consciousness honestly. Also, I just wish this character actually had a name! All in all, this book sounded like utter perfection, but turned out not being what I expected, and was ultimately just not for me. Which is why I’m giving it 2.5 stars but rounding up because I did like the writing overall, just not the execution on the story.
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