Addict by Matt Doyle. ★★★
Addict wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was a fairly decent read.
Cassie Tam is a PI in New Hopeland, a city built to be a shining light of technological progress. A woman named Lori Redwood comes to Cassie, wanting to hire her to investigate the death of her brother, Eddie Redwood. The police say it’s an open and shut case: Eddie, an virtual reality addict, overdosed on VR drugs. But Lori insists that while Eddie was a VR addict, he never used the drugs. Cassie’s dubious, but a job is a job. When Cassie starts digging, she finds that Lori may be right and that Eddie’s death was a murder.
In a lot of ways, Addict reminded me of a certain type of urban fantasy novel. You probably know what I mean. There’s a tough as nails female protagonist who investigates a mystery and finds romance along the way. In this case, the love interest is a Tech Shifter, not a werewolf or some other sort of supernatural shape shifter. Lori uses a mechanical suit that interfaces with her neural implants to role play as Ink, a black panther. I did sort of wonder about the application of Tech Shifting. Cassie mentions it’s used by fetishists and furries, but she also mentions that the police have a special unit of Tech Shifters — how does it give any benefits that you wouldn’t get from a human shaped mecha suit? Oh well.
As you might suspect from the above paragraph, Lori is Cassie’s love interest. I think Cassie identifies as a lesbian, although the word isn’t specifically used (I guess she could still turn out to be bi or pan). Lori is part of the kink community, and there’s some discussion of that, role play, and BDSM. That said, Addict is relatively non-sexual. While there might be discussions relating to sex, there’s no actual sex scenes.
My most specific criticism of Addict relates to the characterization of our potential murder victim, Eddie. Murder mysteries usually need to delve fairly deeply into the psychology of the people involved, including the victim. I don’t think Addict does this adequately. There were some reveals about Eddie that came completely out of left field and challenged my suspension of belief. I have a hard time believing that Lori couldn’t have known some of this about her brother.
Otherwise, my criticisms of Addict are more vague. There’s a lot of stories that follow this general format, and Addict doesn’t do enough to distinguish itself, be it through plot, world building or characterization. I would have liked for all characters involved to be more developed, although I didn’t think they were thin exactly. I would just have liked more depth to the book in general.
However, if you’re looking for some light entertainment with a f/f romance subplot, Addict might very well work for you.
I received an ARC in exchange for a free and honest review.