On the distant colony world of Lagarto, the economy is failing, and all the cops are on the take. Juno Mozambe is no exception, until the day he decides to take a stand and expose a group whose plans would place the planet under their control. Partnered with a beautiful young rookie whose agenda is suspect, Juno finds within himself the lost drive to do good. Hammond's first novel introduces a flawed hero with a checkered past and a dystopian world where good doesn't always win. This sf detective novel should appeal to fans of noir fiction.
Far-future, hardboiled good-cop/bad-cop yarn, from Denver-resident newcomer Hammond. Nearly 800 years from now, following economic collapse, the overheated, barely habitable colony world Lagarto is an impoverished backwater. What little money remains is the byproduct of gangster activity and vice, the former an unholy but effective alliance between police chief Paul Chang and crime boss Ben Bandur, the latter earning desperately needed off-world funds by supplying whores and drugs to tourists and space miners. In the largest city, Koba, narrator detective Juno Mozambe is Chang's oldest friend, confidante and enforcer. These days Juno's still quick with his temper and his fists, but, because of duty-related injuries, slower, shaky and contemplating retirement. However, when an army officer is murdered outside a whorehouse, Chang asks Juno to take the case. Now, Chang and Bandur pretty much keep a lid on things, but Chang and Juno have done, and concealed, many dark deeds, and recognize Mayor Omar Samir's anti-corruption posture immediately as a plot to topple Chang. And Juno's partner, rookie detective Maggie Orzo, may or may not be reporting to the mayor's office. In the steaming heat, evidence deteriorates rapidly, but the victim was murdered, it seems, by a psycho who slashed his throat and carved off his lips. What, if anything, does this have to do with the mayor's power play? Well, when Juno and Maggie catch up with the murderer, it turns out that he's integral to a string of mysterious abductions, of fit young people who've been whisked away into space-as slaves. Gritty, tough, sweaty, with a vivid and well-thought-out backdrop, solid, brutal sleuthing, a deeply flawed but worthyhero and a sequel waiting in the wings: a powerful combination. Agent: Richard Curtis/Richard Curtis Associates Inc.