Death of a Clone by Alex Thomson

21 people on a mining asteroid.

17 clones. 3 Overseers.

6 Jays. 6 Bees. 5 Ays. 1 Ell.

And One Killer.

After humanity has exhausted the resources of precious metals in Earth, clones are sent far out in space, to asteroids to harvest zinc, platinum, and nickel. The Overseers direct the programmed perfection: the muscled Ays, the mechanically-minded Jays, the speculative Bees, and the scientific Ells. The balance of the rock, nicknamed Hell, has been off for awhile as the reader hears references to past deaths, drug use, romantic trysts, and a host of lingering half-memories.

A clone goes missing and is found murdered. Her space suit ripped from her body, asphyxiation taking her in seconds. The remaining Ell is shaken and begins to investigate. But how will she differentiate between identical clones… Lily has left clues. And through a system of methodical deductive reasoning, Leila questions all the residents of Hell and searches for her sister’s killer.

‘Seriously, no one on this colony is capable of giving a straight answer.’

Games of chess and many allusions to Agatha Christie’s novels foreshadow a plot filled with misdirection. These subtle markers of more to come connect to the main character’s love of Mrs. Marple and her methods of finding a killer. The setting and time period may be vastly different, but the clues and atmosphere mark it as a very good manor-house mystery. I was worried about having to decipher between several different identical clones, but Thomson’s deft characterization singles out each suspect.

Death of a Clone is a terrific game of Clue set in space. It’s a book that is more than a simple twist on an old plot. A strong premise is backed up with a solid characters, a tension-filled investigation, and a surprising reveal. Recommended.

4 out of 5 stars

Releases on July 10th.

Thank you to NetGalley, Rebellion Publishing, Abaddon Books, and Alex Thomson for an advanced copy for review.

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