Ahoy there me mateys! This novel is a murder mystery about the first murder on the moon in 2072. It was a Library Journal Spring/Summer Best Debut Novel and also an Amazon Best Book of the Year Selection. So why didn’t I love it?
To be honest, I am not really sure. I did think that the realities of life on the moon were the best part. I loved that it felt gritty with moondust and that, despite decent technology, everything was worn and in danger of failing due to monetary constraints and politics. I loved that the geography and operations on the moon felt so real. I enjoyed the main character, Dechert’s, perspective. He was smart, diligent, and caring. I also enjoyed the Safety Engineer and the Tech Engineer who were the other parts of the main trio. I loved the moon culture. But I think the main problem of this book was the plot itself.
I just overwhelmingly found the events of the book to be rather boring. I almost gave up a couple of times. But the crew kept telling me that this was a good one so I kept going. I did find that the action picked up nicely in the second half. But overall I found the politics and explanations for the murder to be rather sub-par. I mean it has the trope where the murderer stands still and pontificates on how he did it. Sad. I also thought how the crew was saved from the baddies to be so silly. That said I did like Dechert’s negotiations at the very end and was glad the main crew was saved.
So good characters and world building. Not so good plot points. While this novel turned out to be just an okay read, I have no regrets about reading it. Maybe the audio book would have been different?
Side note: Still adore the title of this one and why it is called that. Arrrr!
Goodreads’ website has this to say about the novel:
A realistic and chilling vision of life on the Moon, where dust kills as easily as the vacuum of space…but murder is even quicker—a fast-paced, cinematic science fiction thriller, this debut novel combines the inventiveness of The Martian, the intrigue of The Expanse, and the thrills of Red Rising.
The Moon smells like gunpowder. Every lunar walker since Apollo 11 has noticed it: a burnt-metal scent that reminds them of war. Caden Dechert, the chief of the U.S. mining operation on the edge of the Sea of Serenity, thinks the smell is just a trick of the mind—a reminder of his harrowing days as a Marine in the war-torn Middle East back on Earth.
It’s 2072, and lunar helium-3 mining is powering the fusion reactors that are bringing Earth back from environmental disaster. But competing for the richest prize in the history of the world has destroyed the oldest rule in space: Safety for All. When a bomb kills one of Dechert’s diggers on Mare Serenitatis, the haunted veteran goes on the hunt to expose the culprit before more blood is spilled.
But as Dechert races to solve the first murder in the history of the Moon, he gets caught in the crosshairs of two global powers spoiling for a fight. Reluctant to be the match that lights this powder-keg, Dechert knows the lives of him and his crew are meaningless to the politicians. Even worse, he knows the killer is still out there, hunting.
In his desperate attempts to save his crew and prevent the catastrophe he sees coming, the former Marine uncovers a dangerous conspiracy that, with one spark can ignite a full lunar war, wipe out his team . . . and perhaps plunge the Earth back into darkness.
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