[Emissaries of the Dead
- Adam-Troy Castro] (2008)
A murder investigation on an artificially created space station habitat.
I'm sorry, but with a title like this, I feel comparisons to O.S. Card's Speaker for the Dead
are nearly inevitable. Here, too, an outsider slowly digs into a pretty close-knit and closed-off society, and here, too, the aliens are uh aliens.
Andrea being a notorious war criminal doesn't help. Andrea being cynical, jaded, 'just here to do my job' and pretty badass when not angsting does help.
Not recommended if you're looking for rainbows and unicorns, but if you don't read a lot of SF, and are in the mood for a whodunnit IN SPACE (well, kinda), this might be a good one.
Read for: angsty first pov whodunnit in space, alien aliens, alien AI
Don't read for: comedy (absent), hope (negligible), the idea that most humans are decent at heart (they aren't)
[Rouse a Sleeping Cat
- Dan Crawford] (1993)
A murder investigation in a castle full of suspects, villains and just plain awful people.
If Game of Thrones had been a black comedy and also included more murder, more sex, a child king who was actually likeable and a PG-13 rating, you might have gotten something like this, maybe? Or not.
The thing is, I loved this book. People may be awful, but they're very cheerful while also being sociopathic, homicidal and immoral, with the exception of a few sour grapes and, of course, our main character who needs to solve this one specific murder for Reasons. (She's less sociopathic, more homicidal, mostly because this is not a world where you survive by being, well, nice.)
Read for: people being awful, people being sneaky, gray and grey morality, a sort-of cute boy king who does his best and the (female) bodyguard who's the biggest badass in the castle
Don't read for: angst (absent), kind gestures (rare), romance (absurd notion)
[The Wild Hunt: Vengeance Moon
- Jocelin Foxe] (1998)
A murder plot in a country full of nobles, commoners and other people.
Yup - this time, the guys doing the murdering are 'the good guys'. Kind of. They're actually a group of people who've been cursed by their loved ones and now doomed to aid those in need as members of 'the Wild Hunt' until such time as they can be redeemed by - well, that's up for debate.
I liked this one, but I didn't quite love it. (I suspect that I would have loved this as an anime or manga, because, well, thirteen guys with angsty pasts and redemptions arcs and a compulsion to help the one who summoned them? I think that I could shallowly be into that. A lot.)
Read for: small-scale politics, justified homicide, action-consequence connections, making murder plans that consist of more than 'walk, stab'
Don't read for: closure (only some characters('s pasts) get really fleshed out; others need to wait for the sequel), light-hearted romance (har, har)
I also finished Ready Player One
(Ernest Cline) recently and was a bit disappointed at the lack of ( minor spoiler alert )