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Ex-KOP Hardcover – September 30, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This hard-bitten follow-up to Hammond's 2007 science fiction noir debut KOP, set in the 28th century on the technologically backward world of Lagarto, offers further evidence of his considerable talents. A former member of the Koba Office of Police, Juno Mozambe has been forced into retirement by corrupt detective Diego Banks, who murdered Koba's previous police chief. Now a sleazy, broke PI, nothing but a drunken old has-been, Mozambe reluctantly lets his ex-partner Maggie Orzo hire him to exonerate Adela Juarez, a young woman about to be executed for murdering her parents. Orzo suspects her current partner and rival, Ian Davies, of framing Juarez. Mozambe struggles through a mire of corruption and violence to get the answers and protect his own loved ones. Koba is a tough town full of desperate people, and Hammond makes full use of this richly imagined society. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
After getting fired, aging detective Juno of the economically depressed colony planet Lagarto has been making a scant living photographing scandals for the papers. His wife is hospitalized after what Juno only wishes were an accident, and all his money goes to her medical bills. So when his ex-partner, Maggie, offers to hire him to investigate a murder case she believes her new partner, Ian, is falsifying, he agrees, despite already knowing what bad news Ian is. While Maggie works the case of a sadistic serial killer, Juno tracks down the truth, discovering that his case and Maggie’s are linked parts of a sickening undercover operation, and that Ian is even more dangerous then he thought. Ex-Kop is even better than Kop (2007), involving as it does all the best elements of an sf crime thriller: engrossing, high-stakes case; a fascinating setting; and a downtrodden, dogged hero whose worthiness outshines his flaws. Readers can only hope Hammond gives us more stories of Juno and his jungle world. --Krista Hutley
Top customer reviews
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The ending of this novel sets the scene for an anticipated third novel in this entertaining series. I look forward to reading it. If you like action and a sense of noir in your sf, you shouldn't miss the KOP books. I would give EX-KOP 4 1/2 stars if Amazon offered that option.
There are so many themes that Hammond plays with here: an aging detective (Juno) who fights the good fight when he can but has made more than his share of bad choices, a younger and more idealistic detective (Maggie) who still believes that Juno has "the right stuff" in him, and a world beset by poverty and crime.
But at the heart of this story, as with KOP, in my view, is the relationship between Juno and Maggie. The book begins with the descent of Juno, and while Maggie may have no other choice than to turn to him, you could look at her attempts as giving him an opportunity to redeem himself.
Hammond's writing is raw and unadorned, and he is much heavier on psychological insight than on flowery passages. People comment frequently on the "noir" aspect of his writing, but I see hope glimmering through as well. I am eager to see where he takes these characters.
A great book!
More problems started within the first chapter, when Juno dismisses the reactions of a woman at the literal mercy of a sexually sadistic client, castigating her fear--an entirely normal reaction, given what happens--and urging her in his thoughts to "Get a grip". It's the attitude of a man who obviously does not understand why a sex worker would be terrified of a man who, given the state of the society in which they live, could probably kill her and get away with it, and who also happens to transform into an incarnation of Satan while he makes explicit how capable he is of strangling her. It's not a good sign when the opening chapter leaves a foul taste in my mouth.
Workman-like is the highest praise I can offer the prose.There's no sentence that caught my eye, no wordplay that made me appreciate the writing itself. This is a fascinating world, but it's not rendered as well as its setting calls for. Short chapters make the book easy to read through, and the central mystery is mostly engaging enough to carry the narrative. The social structure of the world makes this a mystery that couldn't occur outside its setting, so kudos for that, but so much is left unexplored. The warlords, the outer territories...those potential stories were fascinating, far more than the central plot.
The relationships between characters are rather thinly drawn; the supposed bond between Juno and Maggie was seriously down-played, and Maggie could have played a much more important role than she did. Juno's fraught relationship with Niki painted his character in a rather negative light: his refusal to honor her wishes for his own selfish desires didn't do much to endear him to me. Understandable, maybe, but his boneheaded refusal to even listen to her, and irritation and dismissal of her intense depression dropped him even further in likability. Anti-heroes have to be written well to garner reader sympathy in my case, but the entirety of Juno's character up to that point did little to make me care for or want to like him.
Overall, a miss for me.
Most recent customer reviews
This book brings new meaning to gritty. Set on Legarto, a planet with few resources and a failed economy, you can feel the despair.Read more