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DanSchwent

Dantastic Book Reviews

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Altered Carbon - Richard K. Morgan Takeshi Kovacs is killed on an another world and re-sleeved in Bay City in the body of a disgraced cop. His mission: find out who killed Laurens Bancroft, a Meth (short for Methusaleh) billionaire. Bancroft and is offering Kovacs his freedom as a reward. Only a lot of people don't want anyone to know why Bancroft killed himself. Can Kovacs get to the bottom of things before the demons in Bancroft's private life get him?

I bought this for a buck and it languished on my shelf for a couple years. Was it worth a buck? Damn right it was!

Kovacs' quest takes him through the seedy underworld of the Bay City sex trade, among other places. The supporting cast, namely Ortega, Miriam Bancroft, Kadmin, and Trepp, keep the plot going fairly smoothly. The action is fast and furious and the sci-fi elements enhance the mystery rather than being set pieces. The mystery itself has so many twists and turns that it was hard to keep track. I like when a mystery surprises me this much. Kovacs wouldn't be out of place in any number of crime novels. Bay City is a like a futuristic, and dirtier, San Francisco and is fairly well realized as a setting. It's hard to believe this was Morgan's first novel.

"But, Dan?" you ask. "Why only a three? Why not a four or even a five?" Well, I liked this book but I sure wasn't in love with it. First, the sex scenes were unnecessary and, frankly, kind of repetitive. Let's just say 69 is a popular number in the future. Also, for what the book was, it seemed slow in the middle, like fifty to seventy pages could've have been lost without missing much. The plot zigged and zagged so much I'd nearly forgotten about the Bancrofts by the end. Other than that, I've got no complaints.

If you like your sci-fi with an action bend and/or are a fan of crime novels, this should keep you occupied for a few hours.