A sci-fi action novel set in the future that pits two FBI agents against each other.
Debut author Hamdam’s story of interplanetary danger begins on Earth in the year 2100. An alien race called the Morphians have made contact with humans, and they have advanced technology that can make dwelling on Mars a reality. They’re happy to share most of their tech with Earth; however, they still keep certain items, such as robotics, protected due to their fear of seeing them militarized. The narrative jumps ahead to 2116 to introduce FBI agent Connor Harper, who’s “fit as a middleweight boxer” and committed to his work. When he learns that fellow agent Joel Davis is colluding with others to attack one of the Mars settlements and steal secret alien knowledge, he aims to stop him—and not get killed in the process. This sober premise soon gives way to all manner of violence and chases: “Harper is killing more guys than Rambo and Robocop combined!” says the third-person narrator. However, despite the heavy doses of action, the events can be perplexing due to odd descriptions, as when “Proxy Alvarez heeds Harper flex westbound onto another thruway from a distance” or when characters “start to grasp very approximal.” Occasional pop-culture references from the past add to the strangeness, as when a futuristic aircraft is said to be able to “hover in the same spot resembling the Harrier aircraft in the movie True Lies.” The book shines much more brightly, however, when exploring aspects of life on Mars, such as the “very technical” Zando language that sparks a humorous situation involving a salesman. These moments give the book much needed comic relief, although they tend to get lost in the overall noise.
A thriller with a solid premise but confusing execution.