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Made to Kill: A Ray Electromatic Mystery (Ray Electromatic Mysteries) Hardcover – November 3, 2015
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"Robot noir in 60s Los Angeles? You had me at 'Hello.'"―John Scalzi, New York Times bestselling novelist
"The dialogue is effortlessly swift and clever, and even the B-movie climax is a spectacle to behold. Above that, though, Ray sparks to live, and his antiheroic slant only makes him that much more compelling and and sympathetic. Knowing that there are only two more Raymond Electromatic mysteries to come is the book's only disappointment."―NPR
"Genre mash-ups don't always succeed, but this one will please fans of both gumshoes and laser beams."―Publishers Weekly
"A fun, fast read for anyone willing to take the speculative leap--a must-add for most fiction collections."―Booklist (starred review)
"Made to Kill is yet more proof that we should all be thankful for Adam Christopher and his imagination. This tale of robot noir is unlike anything I’ve ever read ― Adam’s is a weird and wonderful voice and we are lucky to have it."―Chuck Wendig, New York Times bestselling author of Aftermath
"Adam Christopher has brilliantly deduced what should have been obvious all along: Classic noir and robots are a perfect match. Part Chandler, part Asimov, and part Philip K. Dick, Made to Kill is a rip-roaring cocktail of smart, sharp, twisty, cyber-pulp awesomeness."―Adam Sternbaugh, author of Shovel Ready
"Made to Kill is just the sort of exciting genre collision that marks out Adam Christopher as one of the hottest new young SF writers."―Paul Cornell, author of The Severed Streets
"A smart, rollicking noir/SF mashup. One of the best books I've read all year."―Kelly Braffet, author of Save Yourself
About the Author
ADAM CHRISTOPHER is a novelist and comic writer. In 2010, as an editor, Christopher won a Sir Julius Vogel award, New Zealand's highest science fiction honor. In 2013, he was nominated for the Sir Julius Vogel award for Best New Talent, with Empire State shortlisted for Best Novel. His other novels include The Age Atomic and The Burning Dark.
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But I love Chandler and I wasn't annoyed in the slightest.
I liked Raymond's stoic view of his limitations - a 24 hour memory for starters - and place in this alternative LA. It's only slightly alternative, mind, because pretty much everything lines up with our history, apart from Raymond and his back office help, Ada.
So, this is a detective story in the hard-bitten gumshoe genre, with a reluctant/somewhat hero who stands apart as narrator of his own story and, importantly, the society in which he is embedded. Raymond is not as world weary as Chandler's iconic Marlowe, but he shares traits - wisecracking, tough and contemplative - and ultimately that measure of fairness for the underdog. Though Raymond's fairness does not preclude a little murder here and there.
Christopher keeps the plot boiling along nicely, peppers the story with interesting characters and makes the mystery cloudy enough that you won't guess it early in. I enjoyed it, and if you approach it as a fun little popcorn detective novel, you probably will too.
It is by no means a perfect book, It has plenty of issues I could nit pick. If I was going to complain I could go on about how the the author introduces a lot of cool ideas that he never really does much with and how a lot of the Sci-Fi elements are largely cosmetic additions to a boilerplate detective story; but none of these were enough to keep me from enjoying the book. It’s simple, uncomplicated fun and I was never bored reading it. I’ll definitely be checking out the other books in the series.
But, this is where the novel's successes end. As genre fiction, it succeeds in imitation, but fails to engage anything further. It is not, for example, Inherent Vice--a similar genre fiction experiment set in a similar time frame. Inherent Vice, by Thomas Pynchon, accepts the rules of Chandler's genre fiction and elevates the narrative bringing something (besides a robot) new to the table.
Instead of bringing something new to the table, Made To Kill is just a mashup of two genres, and neither genre performs beyond their mass-market capabilities. The cover blurbs compare Adam Christopher to Philip K. Dick or Isaac Asimov--I don't agree. There was none of Dick's paranoid weirdness or Asimov's technical vision.
If you're looking for a decent detective-cum-robot novel, and are happy reading safely within the mashed-up genres, this is the one. If you're hoping to read a novel that is more than the sum of its parts, you may want to keep looking.
Along with another review it seemed like he couldn't figure out if wanted to go full Hard Noir or not. Ended up with a mix of some good and some really bad metaphors.
Really in the end I have never written a review before, but I do not recommend this book to anyone.