Book Review: Made to Kill
Made to Kill by Adam Christopher, The LA Trilogy #1
Raymond Electromatic is good at his job, as good as he ever was at being a true Private Investigator, the lone employee of the Electromatic Detective Agency--except for Ada, office gal and super-computer, the constant voice in Ray's inner ear. Ray might have taken up a new line of work, but money is money, after all, and he was programmed to make a profit. Besides, with his twenty-four-hour memory-tape limits, he sure can keep a secret.
When a familiar-looking woman arrives at the agency wanting to hire Ray to find a missing movie star, he's inclined to tell her to take a hike. But she had the cold hard cash, a demand for total anonymity, and tendency to vanish on her own.
Plunged into a glittering world of fame, fortune, and secrecy, Ray uncovers a sinister plot that goes much deeper than the silver screen--and this robot is at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
I still remember my first book by Adam Christopher. Hang Wire. Brilliant stuff. Not long after that I read his first book in the Spider Wars series, which was a deep space Science Fiction story compared to the Urban Fantasy inspired Hang Wire. Already with these two book Adam Christopher readily proved himself to be force to be reckoned with. A while back there was a short story called Brisk Money on Tor.com which introduced the concept of Made to Kill, I was sold from the start. And to my pleasure Adam Christopher decided to turn this concept into a trilogy book series!
Made to Kill focuses on Raymond Electromatic, his last name isn't there just to sound cool. Raymond Electromatic was made by the Electromatic Detective Agency and assigned to be a Private Investigator. Made meaning not becoming but literally put together piece by piece as Raymond is an robot. Over the years Raymond has gotten into a new line of work, going from PI towards a more assassin/hitman occupation. One day a pretty girl walks into Raymond's office asking for help. With her she brings a large sum of money to pay the job in advance... Raymond is partly programmed to make the most out of his jobs and there for readily accepts this job, be it with a combination of the big profit as well as a curiosity by the girl who walked into his office. Raymond sets out together with his personal assistant and super AI Ada, who helps Raymond on the job be it with hints or other remarks. The first thing that Raymon has to do is find this missing person or well gather information about him on where he might be, who is friends are etc. of course Raymond is already a seasoned veteran in this field and with the help of Ada he has a certain edge, but even they will be in for quite a challenge once the investigation starts to take of. As with any good detective, there are hints every where, some more notable than others, but if they all lead in the right direction. Well lets say that Raymond has his work cut out for him. Expect the unexpected.
One thing that must have been hard to master was the narration of the book. If you look at the perspective from which the story is being told, Raymond, first thing that comes to mind is that he is a robot. Thus he thinks and act different than how we humans would in certain situations. Adam Christopher showed this by a sort of "clunky" writing style, I really liked this bit as it gave a much better connection with the whole story, though it did took some time getting into the flow of it, since you don't encounter that on a daily basis.
This brings me directly to the uniqueness of Raymond himself. I like the guy, err. robot. Within the many different robot natures, Adam Christopher really created a unique one. part of him knows what he wants and is and he can act on himself. However there is one drawback and those are his memory tapes that only have capacity for twenty-four hours and this he has to rely on his personal assistant Ada to fill in the gaps and relate what happened the previous days. Well the relevant bit, this does make his character even more complex but Adam Christopher pulls it of in a very good way.
As with the other stories that I read by Adam Christopher I was again pleasantly surprised with the story that was shown in Made to Kill, I have to admit that I am not familiar with the writing of Chandler etc, but I can say that I readily liked the universe that Adam Christopher created in the Made to Kill, futuristic but yet steampunkish. As for the noir setting, it was nailed on the spot with Raymond being the robotic detective in a dark time, it has a cool ring to it. Unfortunately Made to Kill is a relative short story with just over 200 pages, but with being the first in a trilogy, there will be much more to enjoy.