A dark and sometimes-gruesome sci-fi noir set in a slick, sick city on the brink of disaster.
Debut novelist Trichter plunges the reader into a futuristic LA corrupted by its dependence on androids known as “spinners” for the spinning engines they bear instead of hearts. Most “heartbeats” view the “bots” as nothing more than objects to be used, abused and discarded for scrap. But Eliot Lazar is in love with a bot named Iris. Maybe it’s because of who his father was, maybe it’s because of his prosthetic arm, “the border where the metal competes with flesh,” but whatever it is, it leaves him devastated when Iris is kidnapped and sold off piece by piece. He sets off to beg, buy or steal his love’s limbs back and reassemble her, even as the cops start sniffing around the only crimes they care about—the ones against heartbeats. Some readers will be turned off by the cynicism of Trichter’s vision or the sexualized violence against android women, but the more hard-boiled will love the fast-paced plot and unforgettably garish, ghoulish world. Many of the minor characters are stock types, but they’re embellished with enough gleefully grotesque detail to keep readers engaged. The deeper questions raised by the premise, about what it means to be alive or in love, are never answered, but they’ll linger in the mind of any reader with a beating heart.
A fast-moving, suspenseful story set in a fascinating future world stuffed with all the violence, sex and sleaze a noir fan could ask for.