ZERO SUM GAME by S.L.  Huang


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This debut is a paranormal thriller in which both the action and the questions don’t stop.

Retrieval expert Cas Russell is a weaponized mathematical genius: She sees numbers, equations, and vectors in everything and uses that knowledge and her superswift reflexes to dodge bullets, be in exactly the right place during a fight, and just generally exploit infinitesimally narrow windows of probability that no one else would perceive. Not even she can explain the source of her abilities. A brutally efficient and suspicious loner who doesn’t hesitate to kill under most circumstances, she trusts—at a visceral level beyond all reason—only one person, Rio, an even more ruthless and effective operative whose religious zealotry substitutes for a conscience. So she assumes that her latest job, referred to her by Rio, will be a routine one. But, it turns out, Rio is entirely ignorant of the mission, which is to rescue Courtney Polk, a seemingly naïve drug mule, from a Colombian cartel at the behest of Courtney’s sister, Dawna. Worse still, Dawna isn’t Courtney’s sister: She’s a telepath who can convince you of anything and an agent for Pithica, a well-connected organization with its sights on global domination (for the world’s own good, naturally). Although Rio asks her not to go after Pithica, Cas can’t help digging herself in deeper with the help of an inconveniently moral PI, especially when it becomes clear that Pithica has at least some interest in her. Cas is an awesome antiheroine, sympathetic despite her practical approach to violence, and her abilities make this book exciting, nasty fun, compensating in great part for the open-endedness of the plot, which raises more questions than it answers, both about who Cas and Rio truly are and about whether Pithica’s motives are as sincere as it claims. This is obviously the initial book in a series, establishing our cast and the mysteries we need to solve.

If not entirely satisfying on its own, an excellent harbinger for books to come.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-250-18025-4
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2018


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