Consequences by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. ★★★1/2
Consequences is the third book in Rusch’s Retrieval Artist series, a science fiction mystery series that focuses on Miles Flint, retrieval artist, and also on Noelle DeRicci, a detective in the domed city of Armstrong, which is located on the moon.
Given that this is a mystery series, each book has a plot that’s self contained, and they could technically be read out of order. However, Consequences refers to the prior books, and I think character development and relations would be best understood if the books were read in order. Unfortunately, I do not have currently a review of the first book in the series, The Disappeared, but I will try to avoid too many spoilers for prior books in this review.
With Consequences I have the same complaint that I had with the second book—I’d like to see more of the alien cultures. The first book set them up, and I loved them. But now both the second and the third have focused on human vs. human conflicts. Oh, well. Hopefully some of the other books in the series will have more with all the different alien species.
While I might be grumbling about the relative lack of aliens, the plot still worked well and remained interesting with a good pace. My only criticism here would be that it felt rushed towards the end. All of a sudden a dramatic event happens, and I feel that there’s not enough page space given to the repercussions of that event.
One other criticism—I think that there were too many point of view characters. Miles and DeRicci are obviously necessary, and one or two others could be argued to provide crucial insight and information, but there’s still some that felt unnecessary. While I like the mayor of Armstrong for instance, I don’t think his sections were in any way important or integral.
I enjoy the relationship between Miles and DeRicci. They’re no longer partners and are still adjusting to that, while Miles is also becoming more and more isolated due to the nature of his job. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they’ll somehow be able to stay friends.
This is a sadly unappreciated and unknown series that deserves some love. If the idea of humans dealing with complex alien cultures and mysteries on the moon interests you, you should give the Retrieval Artist series a try.