A dead girl, a cop he can’t forget, and a price on his head. All on a space station at the edge of a black hole. Just another day’s work for P.I. Lake Harmaa. P.I. Lake Harmaa escaped the darkness and intense gravity of Sisu Space Station’s Maze Sector by turning traitor and spying for the Feds during the war. He has no intention of risking his neck by going back down into those depths, where there’s a price on his head and more than a few souls who wouldn’t mind him turning up dead. But when he’s framed for a brutal murder, Lake realizes he must return to the Maze and settle old scores.
Dear Ginn Hale,
I preordered this novella as soon as I learned that it was available for preorder. I would characterize it as scifi mystery with romantic elements.
Amazon lists the length of the story as 80 pages and it has 1539 locations on my kindle and I really liked that every page of it was used to the fullest. We meet Lake Haarmaa in his office when police officer Mateo Espina – Aguillar comes to question Lake about certain young woman he was hired to find several months ago. Apparently she was murdered and she had Lake’s contact information (contact chip) on her. It looks like somebody is trying to frame Lake for her murder and it is also pretty clear that Aguillar (he is called by his last name pretty much during the whole story) believes in his innocence. Lake explained that he found the girl on her father’s request; tried to impact some wisdom on her and left her his contact chip, but that was it.
The story was moving faster and faster with every page. Very soon while Aguillar is still there, two people are trying to murder Lake and one of his assassins end up dead because both Lake and Aguillar fight back and the other assassin who was trying to run away ends up dead as well but not because Lake or Aguillar killed him. Somebody else did.
Lake thinks that whoever is trying to frame him is from his past and that brings me to the world building. I thought it was top notch and for 80 page story maybe even a little bit too detailed. I am not really complaining here – quite the contrary.
“Just the precariousness of the station itself lent a kind of hardness to the people who called it home. Sisu Station whipped around the edge of an artificial black hole—a failed first attempt at igniting a synthetic star like Yuanxi. The citizens of all three sectors: the Maze, the Arc and the Drift shared a history of oppression, warfare and famine. Many people had endured hard times and survived in ways that didn’t bear scrutiny. Most didn’t want more trouble, but they’d hit hard if they felt disrespected."
“ Lake had been a eight years old when Federal forces rediscovered Sisu Station and the population that had grown up there after two centuries of isolation. Then the forgotten outpost had consisted only of the primary phase of construction: the fused asteroids and mass generator that comprised the Maze. It had been a dark, humid labyrinth filled with insects, boiling chemical pools and an overworked populace ruled by a cult leader. Less than a month after contact, Federal forces had descended into the tunnels, intent upon liberating the common people from their Loviatar overlord. Federalists had anticipated a brief conflict fought remotely via synthetic drones. But the dark, magnetically charged tunnels that made up the Maze had disrupted Federalist equipment and communications. The intense gravity rendered projectile weapons useless. Soon fighting degenerated Just the precariousness of the station itself lent a kind of hardness to the people who called it home. Sisu Station whipped around the edge of an artificial black hole—a failed first attempt at igniting a synthetic star like Yuanxi. The citizens of all three sectors: the Maze, the Arc and the Drift shared a history of oppression, warfare and famine. Many people had endured hard times and survived in ways that didn’t bear scrutiny. Most didn’t want more trouble, but they’d hit hard if they felt disrespected."
So during the war Lake helped Federalists and betrayed his former Boss and now he is thinking past came back to bite him and he is going back to Maze to find some answers while danger is following him.
There is also a romance, but please note I thought that romance while important was clearly a secondary storyline. Once again, I am not complaining – but if you want a lot of romance in your stories please it may not be for you. However, secondary or not, I thought the chemistry between the guys was very much there, and I thought it was a very wise choice for the shorter story to write about the couple who had been in love with each other for a long time already.
When Lake and Aguillar worked together in police force for five years, Lake propositioned Aguillar but Aguillar was married and turned him down. Today Aguillar is not married anymore, but for a while they really cannot sort out their non – relationship because Lake is too busy trying to figure out who killed Holly Ryan and who is trying to frame him and why. Eventually they do come together of course but it takes time. I thought it was wonderful to read how the author without spending pages and pages of love talk lets us know how much these two wanted to be together.
I think based on the blurb it is clear that there are themes about prejudice and intolerance in the book. How successful it was? For me successful enough, but you guys decide.
What did not work for me? The resolution for the secondary villain, I just think the resolution just was not believable or satisfactory to me