Recovery Man by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. ★★★1/2
Recovery Man is the sixth novel in Rusch’s science fiction mystery series following Retrieval Artist Miles Flint. The premise of the series is as follows: human governments have signed treaties with alien governments mandating that humans be tried under alien laws for crimes committed on alien planets. But some of the punishments or “crimes” are completely, well, alien to humans, so a burgeoning industry of Disappearance Services hides human offenders from alien justice systems. Miles Flint, a former police officer, is a Retrieval Artist, someone who works for the families of the Disappeared, who will try to contact them without blowing their aliases.
While you could theoretically start with Recovery Man, I wouldn’t. It’s not the best book in the series, and the plotline is weaker than some of the others. Try the first book, The Disappeared.
The Timeseer’s Gambit by Kate McIntyre. ★★★★
The Timeseer’s Gambit is the sequel to fantasy mystery novel, The Deathsniffer’s Assistant. While there is a separate mystery, I highly suggest reading the books in order since there are some ongoing plot threads and character arcs.
Three months after Christopher Buckley started working for the eccentric detective Olivia Faraday, they’ve got a new case. Across the city, young priests have died in apparent accidents, yet there appears to be a connection. If that weren’t enough, Dr. Livingstone is about to go to trial, and it looks like he’ll be convicted, even though Chris is sure he’s innocent. And on top of everything else, he still hasn’t figured out what’s going on with those mysterious powers he displayed at the end of the last book? Oh, and his apparent past connection to the alluring William Cartwright.
Snake Agent by Liz Williams. ★★★
For whatever reason, I never connected to Snake Agent. Even when there was something about it that I normally would have found interesting, it just never drew me in.
Snake Agent is an urban fantasy, science fiction, mystery mash up set in an alternate universe where Singapore’s started franchising. Detective Inspector Chen handles supernatural cases for the Singapore Three police. He regularly deals with Heaven, Hell, and the spirits of the deceased. He soon becomes unwittingly embroiled in an investigation involving the trafficked souls of young girls and a conspiracy within Hell’s Ministry of Epidemics.
The Long Way Down by Craig Schaefer. ★★★★
The Long Way Down is a dark and gritty urban fantasy set among the seediness of Las Vegas. Daniel Faust is a magician working as a PI who gets a case from an old man looking for justice for his dead granddaughter. Said granddaughter was a porn star, and it looks like her director might have offed her. Only, turns out the director has enslaved a succubus and is only the start to a whole supernatural conspiracy.
Paloma by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. ★★★★
Paloma is the fifth installment in the Retrieval Artists, a science fiction mystery series following former detective Miles Flint. The series starts with The Disappeared, but since each book is a stand alone mystery, you could theoretically read them independently.
Miles Flint used to be a detective working for the police force of Armstrong, a domed city on the moon. Then he bought a business from a woman named Paloma and became a retrieval artist, someone who goes looking for people who’ve gone into hiding due to alien laws at the behalf of relatives or others who don’t want them to be officially found. Since becoming a retrieval artist, Paloma has acted as a mentor and an adviser for Miles. At the start of the book, he receives an emergency message and arrives at her apartment to find a crime scene. Paloma has been murdered. Miles always looked up Paloma, but with her death he’s finding out that she’s not the woman he thought he was. Paloma had a dark side.
Lock In by John Scalzi, read by Wil Wheaton. ★★★★
In the near future, a highly contagious virus races across the globe. A fraction of those who survive experience “lock in” – they are completely paralyzed, unable to move their bodies at all, even though they suffer no mental impairment. Over twenty years later, the condition is known as “Haydon’s Syndrome” and the world has changed in its wake. The locked in communicate with the world through online spaces or robotic “threeps” which they can pilot around the physical world. Chris Shane was the poster child for Haydon’s Syndrom but is now trying to leave that life behind and become an FBI agent. The very first day on the job, Agent Shane and Agent Leslie Vann encounter a Haydon related murder that leads to something bigger than they ever could have imagined.
Jackaby by William Ritter. ★★★
Jackaby is a YA fantasy story about a young women from around 1900 (I think) who gets a job with a detective who can see supernatural creatures. Right when she’s hired, there’s a supernatural serial killer on the loose. Unfortunately, while Jackaby had a lot of potential, the end result was just bland and largely forgettable.
Abigail Rook is the daughter of an English society lady and an archaeologist. Her entire life she’s read tales of adventure and longed to join her father on his digs, despite her parents instance that it is not proper for a young lady. When it comes time for her to go off to higher education, she takes the money for tuition and runs away to join a dig. The experience not being what she hoped, she winds up in America, in need of a job. She soon finds employ with R.F. Jackaby, a detective with supernatural sight. Almost immediately they start investigating a case of a serial killer that Jackaby insists has a supernatural element.