Two agents work a simple murder case together and stumble upon an intergalactic conspiracy in the first book of Carminati’s sci-fi series.
Sarza Beshemet is a trusted Interplanetary Police (IPP) agent, but her animosity for humans is understandable. She’s a Sparcus, part of an alien race that used its brute strength to end the Great Conflict among the planets in the early 23rd century. Consequently, Earth feared Sparcus dominance and initiated Project Geno, the sterilization of all Sparcus males. IPP assigns human agent Wes Venta to be Sarza’s handler for a case involving a dead alien (a Braxian). The circumstances of the murder seem to implicate various species. The investigating duo are soon looking into a series of killings and quickly suspect something bigger at play—especially after apparent Sparcus agents try to kill Sarza. Carminati’s novel concentrates on the mystery, but doesn’t shy away from romance. There’s a mutual but repressed attraction between Sarza and Wes, which opens up a delightful avenue for Sarza’s character: her hair changes color with her mood, so she can’t hide her arousal. She often has blue hair when near Wes, and a story highlight is when her hair turns purple, a mix of blue and red—the latter hue a sign of anger. (Carminati also incessantly toys with readers’ anticipation of a sex scene.) The conspiracy running throughout the narrative also provides a persistent tension. Both agents, for example, have a secret; readers know right away that Sarza’s a double agent for the covert but publicly denied Sparcus intelligence organization, which is searching for a rumored antidote to the mass sterilization. There’s an overwhelming sense of distrust among the species, and the threat of a second Conflict; different aliens turn up dead on different planets, and Sarza suspects that the Sparcus may be responsible for at least one murder. There’s undoubtedly plenty of room for a sequel with Sarza, Wes, or any of the other vibrant characters here.
A bevy of action, suspense, and romance within a detailed futuristic setting.