THE DARK SIDE by Anthony O’Neill


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An incorruptible cop tackles a series of mysterious assassinations in a virtually lawless moon colony; in a not unrelated development, a homicidal android searches for Oz, leaving no survivors in his wake.

In sum, it’s another intriguingly bizarre thriller noir from the author of The Unscratchables (which was published under the pseudonym Cornelius Kane, 2009), etc. Twenty years ago, on the far side of the moon, megalomaniac oligarch Fletcher Brass founded Purgatory as a refuge for Earth’s worst criminals. Brass lives by his own atrocious Brass Code and seems to be locked in a power struggle with his equally steely daughter, QT…or so it appears to newbie police officer Damien Justus, formerly of Las Vegas. Among the victims of a bomb explosion, Justus learns, were Fletcher’s right-hand man, while another dead man spied for QT. The other cops barely go through the motions of investigating, since if Brass is involved, it’s highly preferable to know nothing. Meanwhile, out on Farside’s dusty, cratered surface, an impeccably attired android programmed with the Brass Code (“Never bang your head against a wall. Bang someone else’s”; “Find Oz. And be the Wizard”; “Friends help you get there. Everyone else is vermin,” etc.), each provision of which he considers a “sacred verse,” heads for Purgatory, slaughtering anybody who impedes him according to the Code’s remorseless logic. This concept, despite the dazzling details and gritty texture, bears a certain generic similarity to the author’s other yarns and makes no claim to originality. Still, his characters have enormous appeal—even the ones you’re aware are about to be horrifically murdered. And to relieve the grimness he offers his trademark weird puns, flashes of wit, and mordant humor.

Reveling in the low gravity, a yarn that bounds along in fine style, spraying gore and body parts.

Pub Date: June 28th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5011-1956-9
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2016


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