Polaris by Jack McDevitt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The main problem with SF/Mystery crossovers is that you kinda rather need to be a fan of both genres.
Fortunately, I am, and so this book fit like a pretty comfortable glove. And it's not even a traditional mystery, either. Imagine a modern mystery that included a missing crew on an ocean liner from a hundred years in the past. You've got a lot of weird questions and archeology and a lot of research ahead of you, but wait! What if some really weird events keep happening around you, your artifacts, and your friends? What if there's a conspiracy to keep a Big Secret?
Ahhh, so then, keep the smart premise, interesting plot, and weave it in a fully-realized and deep future society with spacecraft, AI's, and lots of settled planets, aliens, and a few other layers of mystery. Still sound interesting? Yeah! That's because it is!
These books are all about managing your expectations. Know what you're getting into and then you won't be disappointed if what you really wanted was a bunch of corporals issuing orders and pew-pewing across the spaceways. :)
I think I liked this book more than the previous. You don't have to read them in order, thankfully, but what I liked most was the female narrator. She's cool, or at least she's a lot cooler than Alex Benedict, himself. The guy is relegated to a supporting role. I thought that was funny as hell. :)
The best part of this series is the deeply thoughtful construction of the plot, the worlds, and the explored implications. It's smart and the author's voice is quite strong. I can't say that these are my absolute favorite SF books of all time, but I do appreciate everything they accomplish and how they build a strong foundation for a beautiful change in the genre. :)
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