An ambitious novel set in a richly imagined world but impeded by its glacial pace.


A sci-fi mystery involving robots and revolutionaries.

Lady Marianella Luna is a rich, beautiful woman with a problem, one she can’t bring to the cops. Instead, she takes her dilemma to a private eye, Eliana Gomez. Eliana eagerly accepts Lady Luna’s case—and her money—and begins chasing clues into the city’s underbelly. From this familiar opening, Clarke invites readers into an uncommon place: Hope City, an improbable metropolis built on the Antarctic ice and kept alive by a protective glass dome. In this alternate Earth, Hope City began as a Victorian-era amusement park, staffed by humans who immigrated to Antarctica as well as androids built for the park. The park closed in the 1940s and deactivated most of its androids, but the city endured. Now many citizens want to move back to the mainland, including Eliana: solving Lady Luna’s case will give her the funds to leave. Luna’s mystery quickly deepens, introducing Eliana to the city’s different elements (including gangsters and an Antarctic separatist movement) and to Sofia, an android that’s surreptitiously broken free from human control. The novel’s worldbuilding is phenomenal: Hope City’s past and present unfold effortlessly. At the same time, its female characters are particularly well-rendered: Eliana and Lady Luna forge a tentative friendship that feels real, while Sofia’s story is a refreshing take on whether an android should love or hate the humans around her. Unfortunately, what should have been a thrilling tale of detective work and sentient robots is dragged down by an unbearably lethargic narrative. Although each subplot is ingenious, the story lumbers from one story arc to another—conversations are drawn out for pages on end, characters examine their every passing thought—perhaps leading readers to feel they, too, are trapped in ice.

An ambitious novel set in a richly imagined world but impeded by its glacial pace.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-4426-2

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Saga/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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The loose ends that make this the least satisfactory of Joe’s three cases to date still don’t inhibit Box’s gift for nonstop...


The latest in an award-winning series set in the Bighorn Mountains (Savage Run, 2002, etc.).

Minutes after Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett arrests Lamar Gardiner, District Supervisor for the Twelve Sleep National Forest, for firing into a herd of elk, killing seven animals and blindly continuing to reload with cigarettes after he runs out of shells, Gardiner manages to handcuff Joe to his steering wheel and bolt off into a winter storm, only to turn up pinned to a tree with a pair of arrows, his throat cut. And things get even messier from that point on. The attack on a federal agent, together with reports that the Nation of the Rocky Mountain Sovereign Citizens has established an encampment in Twelve Sleep, brings gung-ho US Forest Service investigator Melinda Strickland and FBI sharpshooter Dick Munker, a veteran of Waco and Ruby Ridge, to town. Strickland maintains that she’s just trying to get justice for a murdered official, but she seems awfully eager to tie the perp to the Sovereigns. By the time Joe arrests one of Gardiner’s disappointing killers and identifies the other, Strickland and Munker are already planning an all-out attack on the encampment. The prospect is a personal nightmare for Joe, since Jeannie Keeley, the drifter whose abandoned daughter April Joe and his wife have been trying to adopt, has reclaimed April and spirited her off to the dubious shelter of the Sovereigns.

The loose ends that make this the least satisfactory of Joe’s three cases to date still don’t inhibit Box’s gift for nonstop action and his ability to see every side of the most divisive issues in the West.

Pub Date: May 12, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-15045-5

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2003

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