The tech is hot, the corruption is rampant, and the grit doesn’t wash off easy. Richard K. Morgan’s Thin Air is a fast-paced scifi thriller set on the 4th planet from the sun. Hakan Veil has an issue with his physiology: his mech-infused body needs to sleep four out of twelve months of the year, and the wake-ups are rough. Twitchy, grumpy, and filled with angst-ridden rage, Veil takes a job to off a local thug kingpin. The first domino is knocked over… and what will follow is a clash of corporate greed, law enforcement double-dealing, an Mars independence movement, and one local freelancer, Veil. Armed with his biting sarcasm, a mind for negotiation, and a couple big guns, he will try to protect his charges, track down a lottery “winner,” and do his best to come out unscathed in the end. Hmmm, I’m thinking that will be quite a gamble!
Veil’s character is awesome; he’s a man of many past alliances who was built on desperation and now obsolete tech. But his instincts are intact and his reputation lends itself to hard bargains. Told in 1st person POV, Morgan’s writing thrives in the descriptions of Veil’s interaction with his witty interactive headgear that is used for detecting threats and other important tasks. Overall, a most memorable hired gun.
Morgan’s writing opens with a shotgun blast of Mars-speak. The slang, the technology, the background of the politics on the Red Planet… it can be dense and overwhelming, but I say stick with it. The most important info will come back around. I do have to say that there may have been one too many side missions in this one, a puzzle wrapped in a… but the ending is one of the best I’ve read in awhile. A complex wallop… it’s the big finale at the end of the fireworks show.
Thin Air is a vastly rewarding read. Not easy to work out, but satisfying and fun. A sparky array of gangs and bureaucrats… all the nefarious peoples of the galaxy.
4 out of 5 stars.
Releases on October 23rd.
Thank you to NetGalley, Del Rey, and Richard K. Morgan for the advanced copy for review.