Shelf Awareness: Discover: Adam Christopher’s novel mixes science fiction and noir mystery, as the world’s only robot assassin searches for a missing person in 1960s Los Angeles. Christopher notes that he was inspired to write this novel when considering what it might be like to read an unknown science-fiction epic from Raymond Chandler, and that inspiration shows. Made to Kill evolves over the course of the story from science fiction to a noir-style mystery and back again, never missing a beat in the process.
Congratulations to DMLA clients nominated for a 2015 Goodreads Choice Award!
Best Science Fiction:
Star Wars: Aftermath – Chuck Wendig
Vision in Silver – Anne Bishop
The Aeronaut’s Windlass – Jim Butcher
The Border – Robert McCammon
Best Science Fiction Novel 2015
Cassandra Rose Clarke – Our Lady of the Ice
Best Fantasy Adventure Novel 2015
Elizabeth Bear – Karen Memory
Jim Butcher – The Aeronaut’s Windlass
Best Urban Fantasy Worldbuilding 2015
Anne Bishop – Vision in Silver
Booklist: Crime-fighting duo FBI agent Carla Windermere and Minnesota BCA agent Kirk Stevens (The Stolen Ones, 2015) are drawn into the hunt for an online predator when questions arise about the suicide of a classmate of Stevens’ daughter, Andrea. After promising Andrea they’d poke around, Windermere and Stevens find that the troubled teen forged a suicide pact with a girl she met on an online suicide site. FBI tech experts determine that the girl’s heavily cloaked identity is a cover for a predator who has lured other teens to their deaths. Chat logs reveal that their predator has two other victims lined up, and the hunt for a cunning killer becomes a desperate bid to save a young girl’s life. Suspension of disbelief is required as Windermere and Stevens’ boss authorizes an arsenal of resources for a case he declares isn’t under FBI or BCA jurisdiction, but Laukkanen skillfully distracts from this pesky detail with earnest characterization and incomparable pacing. This is a guaranteed lost weekend for Laukkanen’s fans and for anyone those seeking a Lee Child–like adrenaline rush.
Paul Cornell’s Chalk, about a fourteen-year-old boy forever changed by a horrifying act of schoolyard violence who taps into the ancient magic of the land to enact revenge on his tormenters, to Lee Harris at Tor.com, by Stacia Decker.
- The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
- The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
- Letters to Zell by Camille Griep
- Zer0es by Chuck Wendig
SFX Magazine: …Christopher goes deeper than pastiche. Ray’s primitive systems can only retain 24 hours of memory, so each day he’s a clean slate, briefed on the case by Ada – and it’s not clear he can trust her. This is wonderfully noir, leaving Ray slightly adrift between the forces trying to manipulate him. And in true Chandler style, Ray quickly becomes implicated in the very case he’s investigating, making things even knottier. Made To Kill is book one of a trilogy. We’d happily go for more than three.
Read the full Made to Kill review in SFX Magazine.
Booklist: The genre-blending trend takes an enjoyable turn in this hard-boiled-PI and science-fiction hybrid, which author Christopher describes in his foreword as being like “Raymond Chandler’s long-lost science fiction epic.” The year, 1965. The place, Hollywood. The world, alternate (JFK is still alive, and the Cuban Missile Crisis is just getting going). The citizenry is doubly captivated by the Cuban Missile Crisis and a big Hollywood premier. Enter our hero, Ray, a robot PI. Ray is the last robot left in a world that used to be dominated by them. He has recently been reprogrammed by his supercomputer boss, Ada, to be an undercover contract killer, but with only a 24-hour memory tape, Ray is not sure how or why this happened. When a sultry starlet comes into Ray’s office with an order to kill her leading man and a bagful of gold bars to cover the payment, Ray lands in the middle of an evil conspiracy with roots much deeper than the movie industry. The action, plot, dialogue, and characters are straight out of Chandler, while the science-fiction elements are reminiscent of the very best of that genre from the 1940s and ’50s (think Philip K. Dick and Robert Heinlein). This first in the L.A. trilogy is a fun, fast read for anyone willing to take the speculative leap—a must-add for most fiction collections.
Boing Boing: Christopher really gets to grips with the constraints of Ray’s short term memory and the social implications of the mob-destruction of all the robots (save one), telling a story that’s gripping, funny, deadly and suspenseful.
Best of all, this is book one of three, so there’s more of this kind of thing in the pipeline. That’s great news, because Christopher has hit on something that I’d hardly suspected before, and now can’t get enough of.