After an African-American thug murders a white graduate student jogging in Central Park, the two team up to combat an alien menace in Mosley’s (Rose Gold, 2014, etc.) latest science-fiction effort.
When Ronnie Bottoms brains Lorraine Fell with a rock, her corpse conveniently falls on top of the Silver Box, an incredibly powerful AI remorseful about its original purpose: fulfilling the whims of the Laz, a sadistic conquering race. When the Box acts to help Ronnie resurrect Lorraine, they also inadvertently awaken the Laz as well, which soon sets its sights on Earth. Mosley is always genuinely interested in getting inside people’s heads and trying to bridge social, economic and racial divides—or at least, to disseminate understanding about the natures of those divides. But for some reason, his science fiction is typically crafted in the form of fables, and the insights which seem organic and integrated in his mysteries lose subtlety in his SF. The message of this particular fable is also somewhat murky: What do Lorraine and Ronnie gain by their encounter with the Silver Box? Have they really become more enlightened? Ronnie does become a more philosophical person, willing to consider the implications of his actions (although fidelity doesn’t seem part of that package). But Lorraine seems to have gained Ronnie’s less attractive qualities in return, rejecting philosophy (formerly her area of study) and words for the purely physical, running for miles and having sex with a stranger (the oddly named Alton Brown—does Mosley have some connection with the Food Network celebrity?). And although she’s strong enough now to resist her domineering father’s bullying, she apparently has no problem continuing to accept his financial support and never for one second worries that it might be cut off.
Food for thought, if not entirely digestible.