A smooth blend of science fiction and police procedural, this novel is set on the corporate-owned planet of Gattis and revolves around an idealistic young cop and a cybernetically enhanced inspector faced with solving a mass murder that, if left unresolved, could trigger a bloody revolution.
Eric Matheson is a rookie patrolman fresh out of the academy who has been on Gattis for less than a month when he and his partner stumble across a brutal murder scene in a ghetto of one of the “tourist-trap” planet’s most popular cities. Sixteen people are dead—all Dreihleen—and evidence indicates that the killer may be Ohba. Both races are native to the planet, and both sides feel like they’ve been systematically oppressed and disenfranchised for generations by the corporate leaders who run the world’s economy. When Matheson’s injured partner is replaced with Chief Investigating Forensic Officer J.P. Dillal—a half Dreihleen inspector whose capabilities have been enhanced with cutting-edge tech that has been integrated into his flesh—Matheson quickly realizes more than a few powerful factions are actively seeking to close the case, regardless of who is really behind the killings. The unlikely duo begins uncovering a conspiracy that could have grand-scale implications. While the police procedural aspect of the story is methodical and adeptly plotted, the narrative suffers from some major flaws: Matheson is woefully two-dimensional, the worldbuilding is superficial at best, the pacing drags in spots, and the tension level is conspicuously low throughout. But despite the flaws, Richardson (Revenant, 2014, etc., under the name Kat Richardson) has created a foundation filled with potential, both narratively and thematically: an exotic planet fueled by corporate greed and the oppression of its native races.
This novel is powered by a focus on highly detailed police-procedural elements but lacks significant emotional connectivity.