*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of NETGALLEY arc Crackle and Fire – an Angela Hardwicke sci fi mystery by Russ Colchamiro #BrainfluffNETGALLEYbook review #CrackleandFirebookreview #SciFiMonth2020

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This sci fi crime noir caught my eye – it’s a genre I’ve become increasingly fond of – and I loved the cover and the premise. I’ve linked this post to #Sci Fi Month 2020.

BLURB: Angela Hardwicke isn’t just any private eye. She’s a PI from Eternity, the cosmic realm responsible for the design, creation, and maintenance of the Universe. When accountant Gil Haberseau hires her to find an intern with stolen corporate files, Hardwicke soon finds herself embroiled in a deadly case of lies, intrigue, and murder, clashing with vengeful gangsters, MinderNot rallies, and a madman who’s come a long way to get what he wants.

REVIEW: Angela is a P.I. with quite a backstory – she has a small child she yearns for, which I liked, as there are a dearth of mothers in sci fi adventures. And the reason why she doesn’t have her son alongside, is that she is an addict, struggling to recover from a terrible drug. In the process of putting her life back together, she has also garnered a reputation in the highest circles of Eternity for being able to solve knotty problems. So when a frantic accountant contacts her to report that one of his interns has gone missing while handling sensitive material… And in Eternity, the place where new galaxies are created – sensitive material has consequences.

I like Angela, who is suitably hardboiled and streetwise, but also has her vulnerabilities. She has a nose for when folks are telling her the truth and is experienced enough, so there wasn’t too much flailing around, getting nowhere. I also liked her occasional meltdowns and found her struggle with dRod – the drug she is addicted to – poignant and believable. I also liked that she is attracted to both men and women and thought that was well handled. The investigation produced plenty of twists and unexpected turns, which I thoroughly appreciated.

However, I wasn’t convinced by the world. While I liked the concept of Minders running the universe as a large corporation, I didn’t find the actual depiction of it persuaded me to suspend my disbelief. Which, while it wasn’t an absolute dealbreaker, did interfere with my overall enjoyment of the story. That said, there wasn’t any stage when I was tempted to DNF this one – Colchamiro writes fluently, there was plenty of pace and Angela is a nuanced, well rounded character, with a strong supporting cast. There were moments of real drama and poignancy and the investigation was satisfactorily wrapped up, providing plenty of surprises along the way.

Recommended for fans of sci fi crime adventures. While I obtained an arc of Crackle and Fire via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
7/10

9 responses »

  1. I like that she’s a mother, I always appreciate when authors include mothers in their stories. The cover sure does a good job of giving a sci fi noir feel to the book😁

    • I think the cover is a cracker – and I really liked the character. It was just that the worldbuilding didn’t totally convince me – but I still thoroughly enjoyed the story – hence 7/10…

    • Oh yes – I did mark it down a bit because I didn’t find the setting sufficiently convincing. But the story and the characters certainly made up for it – and the writing was solidly good throughout, which always makes a huge difference as far as I’m concerned.

  2. Sounds good even with your issues regarding the world building and I also like to see fiction where characters such as ‘moms’ are present – definitely not enough of those around
    Lynn 😀

    • Oh yes – I am quite happy to recommend this one, as I think it has loads of appeal and is generally well written. A number of other readers have thoroughly enjoyed it and clearly not had the problems I had with the setting – so it could be just a personal thing. I’m aware that I am quite critical of space opera writing, probably because it’s a genre that I write, too!

  3. Pingback: #SciFiMonth Mission Log: week one

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