Other Rhodes is a far-future, deep space noir detective story and another fun genre mash-up from Sarah A. Hoyt. Our heroine, Lily, finds a cyborg in her airlock when she expected her husband. Now she has no option except to team up with the completely illegal creation to locate her missing husband. Additionally, with no other allies, she has to trust that her husband’s long-time friend is also her friend and will give her the help she needs. The book combines elements of classic noir detective stories (Rex Stout, Nero Wolfe) within a space-faring and high-tech universe.
Here’s the blurb: Lily Gilden has a half-crazed cyborg in her airlock who thinks he’s Nick Rhodes, a fictional 20th Century detective. If she doesn’t report him for destruction, she’s guilty of a capital crime.
But with her husband missing, she’ll use every clue the cyborg holds, and his detective abilities, to solve the crime her husband was investigating when he disappeared.
With the help of a journalist who is more than he seems, Lily will risk everything to plunge into the interstellar underworld and bring the love of her life home!
All this action is set in a finely woven, richly described, complex universe, but the story is character-driven, not tech driven. Ten thousand years in the future and people are still people and still motivated by all the same human foibles: lust for power, jealousy, fear, and love. This is not to say you don’t get the tech advances you expect to find in a story set so far in the future. There’s plenty of that for those of you who like to read about all the cool new devices we’ll have in the future.
There are a number of fun references to current political and cultural issues along with the practical and ethical issues of creating cyborgs. The first time I saw this done with a eye to a believable human reaction to cyborgs was in the 1987 movie Robocop. In that movie we saw little hints of the human police officer in the gestures and comments of the cyborg officer, and we saw the emotional wounds those gestures had on the family left behind when the officer was “killed.” Hoyt addresses these issues as we watch Lily try to come to terms with the idea that this illegal cyborg might just be her husband. Hoyt shows readers what the creation of a cyborg might mean to actually living family members.
The book seamlessly weaves all of these things together and keeps the focus on Lily as she takes on the job of private detective, something she’s never done before, and grows into her new role and new responsibilities. She also learns how far she’ll go for the man she loves.
Other Rhodes is a quick read, mostly because you won’t want to put it down, with an ending that just screams for more cases for our intrepid detectives. It’s available on Amazon including Kindle Unlimited. I am looking forward to the next book in this series!