Has anybody ever read a science fiction mystery?
I must admit I love when authors combine genres in their books. Dean Koontz is one of the masters of genre combining and twisting in his works. The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch is the first novel I’ve read that combines a standard science fiction setting with a traditional detective story theme.
Private detective Miles Flint and his partner, Noelle DeRicci, have been assigned to solve a couple of cases where people have disappeared from their alien captors in order to escape punishment alien justice style.
Rusch creates a believable world of human-alien interaction and adroitly reveals how a misunderstanding of moral and legal issues can cause an intergalactic diplomatic crisis. The price paid for that misunderstanding is very costly and could even effect one’s own children.
Flint and DeRicci are caught in the middle of several of those misunderstandings where a couple of alien races, The Wygnin and The Rev, are demanding that children be returned into their custody because of the crimes committed by their human guardians. Both detectives believe the aliens may have bypassed human laws and are determined to keep the children with their parents. Also, an outlaw is on the run because she helped her human client avoid a prison sentence from one of those alien races.
What I liked about The Disappeared that it was a good old-fashioned story. The beginning grabbed my attention and stayed with me until the end. Rusch resolved the multiple storylines nicely and I got solid characterizations of Flint, DeRicci, and the aliens.
This is the first book in the Retrieval Artist Series and one of my best reads for 2013. I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing the rest of the series for the blog in 2014. Recommended.