Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty. ★★★★
I’ve always loved science fiction mysteries, and Six Wakes did not disappoint.
Maria Arena is a clone. Whenever she dies, she wakes up in a new body with memories from whenever she last downloaded them. But now Maria has awaken in a new body where her old one is still floating dead — the entire six person crew of the spaceship Dormire are clones, and all of them have woken up with no memories of the last twenty years after they’ve apparently been murdered. Not only that, but the cloning machine is broken. If the killer strikes again, there will be no more second chances.
Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson. ★★★
Looking back at my review of the first novella, Legion, I’m not really sure why I chose to read Legion: Skin Deep. Possibly I hoped it would improve? More likely, I just forgot that I wasn’t super thrilled with Legion and plunged head first into this one willy nilly.
Technically, you don’t need to read these books in order. The plot lines aren’t really related. The core concept of this novella series is the main character Stephan Leeds, who has hallucinations. However, these are no ordinary hallucinations. They appear whenever he studies any topic, gaining the knowledge that’s locked in his subconscious. They give him a panel of experts that he carry around with him at all times and allow him to have a lucrative job as an adviser and investigator.
Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson. ★★★
Snapshot is novella from one of my favorite authors, Brandon Sanderson. However, it’s not a story I’ll ever return to.
In Snapshot, the police force of an independent city have access to an advanced technology that can recreate an entire day of the recent past. Buildings, streets, food, and even people. A specialized team enters this “snapshot” to gather evidence for a case, trying not to create a ripple effect of changes due to their presence.
Anthony Davis and his partner Chaz enter a snapshot of ten days ago, May 1st, to do some routine evidence gathering. But Davis has been listening to some conspiracy theory chat boards, and he heard that something big went down on May 1st. When Davis and Chaz head to an abandoned building where police were called, they discover that the city is hiding a brutal crime.
The Dispatcher by John Scalzi. ★★★1/2
The Dispatchers is a sci-fi novella based around a single concept: what if anyone who was murdered just… came back? Right in their own home, naked as the day they were born. How would society change as a result?
Tony Valdez is a dispatcher, a professional with the license to murder. He exists to give second chances, since only murder results in people returning. He often works in hospitals, staying on hand in case a surgery goes wrong and it looks like the patient will die of natural causes, never to return. When he finds out that a fellow dispatcher has gone missing, Tony becomes involved in the investigation and the shady world of off-books dispatching.
Clean by Alex Hughes. ★★★
It’s been a while since I’ve read a book that managed to give me so many mixed feelings!
The narrator of Clean is a drug addicted telepath. After getting kicked out of the Telepath’s Guild, he makes a living by working for police, mainly by using his telepathic powers to tease information out of suspects during interviews. But his routine begins to fall to pieces when a new killer starts stalking Atlanta and he’s called upon to help investigate. All signs point to the killer having some form of psychic powers, but otherwise clues are sparse.
After Atlas by Emma Newman. ★★★★
After Atlas is a novel set in the same universe as Newman’s stellar science fiction novel, Planetfall. However, the two books are completely distinct and can be read independently. In fact, After Atlas is actually a mystery novel in addition to a science fiction story.
After Atlas presents a very dark vision of the future. Democracy has failed, and the world is ruled by hybrid government/corporations – govcorps. Carlos Moreno, who’s mother left aboard the spaceship Atlas, had the misfortune of being rounded up and sold as a debt slave. For the next thirty years, he’ll belong to the Ministry of Justice, where he works as a detective. But a new case threatens the fragile boundaries he’s constructed to preserve his mental state. His uncle, Alejandro Casales, and leader of a religious cult has been found dead in a hotel room, and Carlos will be forced to examine his past.
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.