THE RAZOR by J. Barton Mitchell


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A mysterious catastrophe threatens a previously impregnable and dangerously corrupt 22nd-century prison planet.

A motley group of familiar prison-drama archetypes face life imprisonment on the brutal mining colony known as the Razor, so called because only a sliver of the planet is habitable, balanced on either side by extreme environments. The characters include Marcus Flynn, a brilliant engineer whose employers framed him for murder when he decided to go into business for himself; James Maddox, who was a former elite military officer stationed at the Razor until he killed his commanding officer because of the man’s ties to human trafficking; Key, a street-smart failed gang leader who can’t help caring; Raelyn, a doctor who lost her license after conducting a dangerous experiment on herself; and Zane, a tough former operative augmented by the government to have control over metal. But most of them have barely arrived on the planet when alarms blare and all the guards evacuate, leaving our heroes to battle their way through violent gangs of inmates and struggle across the hazardous landscape in search of answers, which lead them to an escaped swarm of murderous aliens and an imprisoned psychopathic scientist. As the aliens begin to breed and the livable part of the planet rapidly shrinks, can the group make it to the starport and escape before it’s too late? The author leans heavily on both action and prison tropes, with a hefty dose of horror borrowed from the Alien films, but those tropes endure because they’re still crowd-pleasing and effective. While there is a certain amount of resolution, there’s enough open-endedness to surmise that this is the first of a series, with many more revelations to come.

An R-rated popcorn-munching entertainment in the best B-movie tradition.

Pub Date: Nov. 27th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-7653-8792-9
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2018


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