Places in the Darkness
Chris Brookmyre is best known for his hard-boiled crime stories set in his native Scotland, but here he’s reached into some future period for a tale set on Ciudad de Cielo, the ‘city in the sky’, which is orbiting the earth. It begins with a mutilated body floating around in zero gravity. A grizzly discovery at the best of times, particularly when CdC is supposedly a murder-free zone. On the case is play-it-by-the-book Alice Blake, a top-of-the-class cop from Earth, and Nikki Freeman, a CdC dweller more used to bending rules than obeying them. It’s the first time that Alice has ventured to this city in space, and so she acts as the readers’ eyes as Nikki shows her around the many seedy bars and sex clubs that are very much part of the city’s make up. It’s a nicely twisting caper, part Raymond Chandler, part Philip K. Dick (the philosophical musings on what it means to be a human, thankfully, don’t impact upon the pace) and the setting – which could have been plucked straight out of 2000ad comic – is nicely realised.