A vigorous, visionary and steamy cybernoir crime story with a convincing far-future setting.


In this debut sci-fi novel set in the 25th century, police detective Durante Hoskin must unmask a fiendish high-tech serial killer whose crimes against the corrupt superrich threaten to spark social chaos.

Jeffries isn’t the first sci-fi writer to project a hard-boiled detective story into the future; Isaac Asimov’s The Caves of Steel (1954) wasn’t even the first such tale, nor was the film Blade Runner (1982). However, here he presents a cranked-up-to-11 vision of the mean streets of the future—a post-singularity world of para-human cyborgs, similar to that imagined by futurist Ray Kurzweil. The story takes place on a planetoid-vast, traveling “Starship Settlement,” home to a space-going culture that’s heavily class-stratified: opulent and slum-ridden, decadent and dynastic. Nearly everyone is wet-wired into online and person-to-person communication; radical body modification is routine, and centurieslong human lifespans are further boosted by “blackbox” recorders, allowing people to “relife” themselves from stored data. Yet even in this environment, a murderer at large knows how to strike stealthily through invisible oceans of security minicams, permanently kill the best protected of the elite and spread propaganda of his crimes. On the case is Hoskin, a veteran police detective who’s considered old-fashioned for his habit of physically working out instead of letting nano-bots tone his body from the inside, like everyone else does. Early on, readers get the news that the killer is Venadrik, a brilliant but psychopathic son of a prostitute, whose horrific childhood and messianic religion has set him on a mission to overturn society. Once readers acclimate to the shock of the far-future tech, the book telegraphs the trick Venadrik uses in his serial slayings rather obviously. But the momentum of the storyline and the comfortable noir genre tropes—including a sublimely seductive bad-girl heroine and a young, brash cop partner in trouble—sweep the reader along. The escalating levels of mayhem and weaponry near the end practically transform the book from a sci-fi whodunit to a military-combat action thriller. Although this tale is billed as the first installment in the author’s Age of Transcendence series, it wraps up neatly, like a stand-alone.

A vigorous, visionary and steamy cybernoir crime story with a convincing far-future setting.

Pub Date: June 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1490330723

Page Count: 310

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

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  • New York Times Bestseller


Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.


A tightly wound caseworker is pushed out of his comfort zone when he’s sent to observe a remote orphanage for magical children.

Linus Baker loves rules, which makes him perfectly suited for his job as a midlevel bureaucrat working for the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, where he investigates orphanages for children who can do things like make objects float, who have tails or feathers, and even those who are young witches. Linus clings to the notion that his job is about saving children from cruel or dangerous homes, but really he’s a cog in a government machine that treats magical children as second-class citizens. When Extremely Upper Management sends for Linus, he learns that his next assignment is a mission to an island orphanage for especially dangerous kids. He is to stay on the island for a month and write reports for Extremely Upper Management, which warns him to be especially meticulous in his observations. When he reaches the island, he meets extraordinary kids like Talia the gnome, Theodore the wyvern, and Chauncey, an amorphous blob whose parentage is unknown. The proprietor of the orphanage is a strange but charming man named Arthur, who makes it clear to Linus that he will do anything in his power to give his charges a loving home on the island. As Linus spends more time with Arthur and the kids, he starts to question a world that would shun them for being different, and he even develops romantic feelings for Arthur. Lambda Literary Award–winning author Klune (The Art of Breathing, 2019, etc.) has a knack for creating endearing characters, and readers will grow to love Arthur and the orphans alongside Linus. Linus himself is a lovable protagonist despite his prickliness, and Klune aptly handles his evolving feelings and morals. The prose is a touch wooden in places, but fans of quirky fantasy will eat it up.

A breezy and fun contemporary fantasy.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21728-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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