Streets of Payne

( 4 )


Humanity is in the eye of the beholder.

But for street-smart detective Amber Payne, it's the eyes that aren't human. Cybernetic implants replaced the organics she lost in the line of duty, and their appearance often causes Amber to doubt her self-worth.

Rookie detective Kevin Glass is her partner. And though he may be new, Kevin's unparalleled skill as an elite cyber-surfer makes him an invaluable asset.

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More About This Book


Humanity is in the eye of the beholder.

But for street-smart detective Amber Payne, it's the eyes that aren't human. Cybernetic implants replaced the organics she lost in the line of duty, and their appearance often causes Amber to doubt her self-worth.

Rookie detective Kevin Glass is her partner. And though he may be new, Kevin's unparalleled skill as an elite cyber-surfer makes him an invaluable asset.

When Alta Corp contracts the two of them to solve a case of high stakes data theft, they will need every bit of skill, experience, and determination to succeed. For the more they investigate, the more it becomes evident that this case is much more than it appears, and its resolution may forever alter the world in which they live.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781490558332
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/31/2013
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.74 (d)

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 26, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Some of the qualities of the world Jeff Brackett created for thi

    Some of the qualities of the world Jeff Brackett created for this science fiction techno thriller would fit well in a dystopian novel, a different sci-fi subgenre. The first is a high crime rate which led me to believe that while the main characters had a reasonable quality of living, the run of the mill citizen might not. Corporations seem to be where most power resides with no apparent sign of government. Even law enforcement, the area where the protagonist Amber is employed, is privatized. I wouldn’t classify this book as dystopian because the technology and action overshadow whatever subtle political subtext I detected, another reader may see it differently.

    For me, the fun part of the story was in the action. Amber and her work partner Kevin are hired to investigate a crime that, as they investigate, turns out to be something much different that it first appears. It raises questions of personal privacy (there’s another dystopian element) and explores the man/machine interface (in the future, how clear will the boundaries between the two be?) Plus, if you like futuristic shoot’em ups, there are a few of those, too. 

    Last, I’d be remiss not to mention the sense of humor that shows up in unexpected ways. My favorite example of this was Amber’s explanation of an expression she uses: 

    “I guess it’s time to get back on the cow that threw me.” Fischer raised his right eyebrow. “Excuse me?” “It’s an expression used by old-time cowboys,” Amber explained. “When they rode their cows, the cows sometimes got violent and threw their riders to the ground. Seems it was a frightening experience, and they held the belief that if you didn’t get back on the cow immediately, the trauma would prevent you from ever being able to ride again.”

    I guess that’s mostly correct. Makes you wonder how much history we’ve learned is just a bit off, doesn’t it? A fun, potentially thought provoking read.

    **Originally written for "Books and Pals" book blog. May have received a free review copy. ** 

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  • Posted April 5, 2014

    My Initial Reaction┬┐ I loved the futuristic setting of Streets o

    My Initial Reaction…
    I loved the futuristic setting of Streets of Payne, which I knew I’d love just from the synopsis. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the characters and though some of the crime/mystery elements were solved a bit too easily for me, I enjoyed the flow of the story.

    The Narration…
    Joy Nash fit the characters really well and did a great job varying her voice for the different characters (including the machine voices). In fact, at one point I stopped and check to make sure it really was just one narrator because she was doing such a good job varying her voice! This was my first read with her, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open for more from Joy.

    The only thing that really bothered me was the way that the recording were periodically have this futuristic chime between scenes. It bothered me because it didn’t signal anything consistently. At first I thought it signaled some sort of machine activity, but that turned out to be wrong. Then I thought it signaled a change in point of view, but that also turned out to be wrong. So if it had a purpose, other than to distract me because I wanted to know what it’s purpose was, I didn’t figure it out. I love it when audio books use sound effects well, but this was just pointless.

    The Characters…
    I grew to love the characters in Streets of Payne. I say GREW because at first we really only see things from Detective Amber Payne’s point of view and, at first, I didn’t like her. She seemed full of herself and obnoxious. But I grew to see that she actually just had a really quick temper and said things a lot of the time without thinking, which made her a flawed character and I kind of loved the way she’d stick her mouth in it all the time. And I think her quick temper and defensiveness definitely made sense. Payne lost her eyes (and yes, it’s described in detail. and yes, I cringed.) and thanks to the law enforcement agency she works for she has replacements. Since they weren’t too worried about the aesthetics, though, they are just these grey orbs. And people stare at her all the time. I can see how that would make a person a bit defensive.

    It took a while before the story was told more from her partner’s (Kevin Glass) point of view, but I instantly loved him. He’s basically a hacker – one of the best in the world – and he has a great personality. He’s hilarious and I love the way he and Payne interact, with each other and with others. They fit together. For me, this book would have been better if we got to know Kevin much better and more of the story were told from his perspective. I love the scenes where he’s plugged in and doing technical warfare basically. It was so easy to understand (and I’m not at all technically informed) and yet it still managed to be really complex.

    A few other characters are introduced as the story progresses, and one other point of view, but to talk about them too much would be a bit of a spoiler. So I’ll just say that I really liked all the characters. Brackett did a really good job of making even the more marginal characters vivid and likeable (or hateable, as the case may be).

    The Story…
    Mostly, I loved the story for Streets of Payne. The futuristic world is fantastic – although I really wish I’d gotten a date (or decade) that the story took place in. Kind of a pet peeve of mine with futuristic worlds, but it didn’t really hurt in the long run. Brackett had marvelous details and great ideas – from the technology they use to the way people’s BODIES are being upgraded because of tech – they all worked really well. It was consistent and I never found myself thinking that a piece of tech didn’t make sense.
    I would have liked to understand a bit more of how this world came to be. I guess this falls in with the date detail a bit. We get a glimpse when Payne goes into the Golf Course – an area that is super dangerous and basically inhabited by those who are either criminals or victims. But I would have liked a lot more background and world building to explain how things got this way. Similarly, Payne and Glass are detectives for a private law enforcement agency, because that’s the only kind that exists now. Again, this is briefly explained, but I would have liked a lot more. I think, though, that I may be a bit of a world-building glutton and my want for more could be a bit extreme.

    The mysteries were both good and too simple. They were good in that I couldn’t solve them and didn’t see where things were going. I had lots of guesses, but the twists and turns kept me on my toes. But it was too simple for Payne. She figured things out too easily, IMHO. Too easy might be the wrong word though, since nothing is ever physically easy. Payne and Glass (and other, unnamed characters) engage in many very physical, very mentally demanding, and very PAINFUL fights. And, at one point, I was even brought to tears by how not easy things were.

    Concluding Sentiments…
    Ultimately, Streets of Payne, was an action packed fast read and I enjoyed the characters immensely. It was a switch from my more typical reads and it has me thinking I might want to try out this genre more often.

    I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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  • Posted March 25, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I recently read this book and I was very glad I did. It is Sci-F

    I recently read this book and I was very glad I did. It is Sci-Fi at its best.

    Amber Payne is an Agent for Securi-Tech. A private law enforcement agency where law Enforcement has become Privatized. In this world the human body can get enhancements and goodies done to their bodies. Amber and her partner Kevin, one of the best hackers/surfers out of the academy, are called upon to investigate a case at Alta Corp. From there the story just gets better and better.
    Amber is not your everyday Detective. You find out right away that she is special. The world is believable and I would love to revisit it if the author puts out another story in this setting. It's kind of a mixture between blade runner and shadowrun. I would/have recommend this to anyone. 

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  • Posted January 6, 2014

    Sci-Fi most excellent! *Book source ~ Many thanks to the author

    Sci-Fi most excellent!

    *Book source ~ Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

    Amber Payne is a Detective with Securi-Tech, a private law enforcement company. In a future where humans can buy body enhancements Amber is still a bit different than your average human. After losing her eyes while on the job, Securi-Tech paid for her ocular implants, but didn’t pay to have them look human. So she has silver eyes. Very disconcerting to those meeting her for the first time. On top of being in debt to Securi-Tech for her sight, she also has to put up with having her ocular feed being available 24/7/365 to the company. She may have exceptional sight, but it’s not really her own. 

    Fortunately for her, she has a super smart new partner in the shape of Kevin Glass. Kevin is top of the top in any and all things computer and cyberspace. He even has an enhancement, a neural input/output port (NIOP) behind his ear that lets him hook directly into cyperspace just by sliding a gold-plated rod into it and connecting to his custom board. Creepy, but extremely effective.

    It just seems to be business as usual when the Chief gives her and Kevin a possible espionage case involving Alta Corp. Little does Amber know this will be the start of something bigger than she could possibly have fathomed. Her whole world is about to be turned sideways and she has to go with the flow or be sucked under.

    I can’t tell you how much I love this book. I tend to forget how much I love sci-fi and I don’t read near enough of it. As a fan of Star Trek and all things technological I’m not sure why I don’t read more of it except maybe I just don’t run across the books when I’m trolling for things to read. Or maybe it’s because there is so much out there and not as many people I know who like sci-fi to rec them to me. In any case, I’ve read Jeff Brackett’s post-apocalyptic books and loved them, so when he said he had a sci-fi book out I jumped to read it. And I was hooked from the beginning. I couldn’t read it fast enough and I even stayed up past my bedtime even though I get very cranky when I don’t get enough sleep. I have no better recommendation than that. I love my sleep. I mean really love it. If I stay up late to read then the book is glued to my hands.

    Amber’s world is fascinating to me.  People can get enhancements to their body? How cool would that be? Of course, in her world the enhancements are as addictive to some people as plastic surgery is to some today. Many people get them for protection, but some get them for terrorizing and to make committing crimes easier. What’s even cooler, some serious injuries can be repaired fairly quickly in a Doc Box. No more long hospital stays with crappy food or being out of work for ages. Sa-weet!

    Sometimes the tech-speak would be a bit beyond me, but that really didn’t slow me down. The mystery was intriguing and twisty, the characters awesome, the plot paced just right and the world was so fascinating I couldn’t put the book down. I had to see what would happen next. The story ends, but there is one thread left hanging leaving the door open for a next book. Make it so!

    *I have to add that while I think it’s the coolest thing ever to have a possible (most certainly) villain as my namesake, it in no way affected my opinion of this story. My doppelganger has a small part in the book and I hope to see her in a future book. Especially if she is up to no good and then dies in a spectacular way. I don’t want her in prison. I’m a bit claustrophobic. Hint, hint Jeff.

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