Series: Ray Electromatic Mysteries #2
Published by Tor on July 25, 2017
Genres: Crime, Mystery & Detective, Science Fiction
Sexual Content: None
Reviewed by: Rebecca
A blend of science fiction and stylish mystery noir featuring a robot detective: the stand alone sequel to Made to Kill
Another golden morning in a seedy town, and a new memory tape for intrepid PI-turned-hitman--and last robot left in working order-- Raymond Electromatic. When his comrade-in-electronic-arms, Ada, assigns a new morning roster of clientele, Ray heads out into the LA sun, only to find that his skills might be a bit rustier than he expected....
Killing is My Business is the latest in Christopher's noir oeuvre, hot on the heels of the acclaimed Made to Kill.
Who would have thought that the detached and distant Noir style would perfectly match that of a robot assassin? Ray Electromatic used to be in the detective business but turns out there’s a lot more money to be had killing people. With Ada, his monitoring computer, whispering in his ear, Ray drives around LA fulfilling his contracts. In KILLING IS MY BUSINESS, Ray is hired to take out an old-school crime boss. But predictably, the job is a little more complicated than expected. The hook of the novel is the fact that Ray is an unreliable narrator. He’s a computer, theoretically he can be re-programmed at any time. In fact, his memory tapes need to be reset and wiped every day. He relies on previous data to finish his jobs, but there’s always the chance that details are missed or....deleted. The reader only knows as much as Ray and, when Ray's memory gaps get worse, both Ray and the reader are left in the dark.
KILLING IS MY BUSINESS closely follows the Noir conventions. There’s the seedy underworld, the goons, the broads, the cigarette that always needs to be lit. There’s a femme fatale who has her own agenda, and who doesn't mind flirting with a robot even though he’s not fully functional. As a huge fan of Raymond Chandler and detective novels, I lapped up every tip of hat. Like all good mysteries, the reveal is slowly-paced and placed within the last few pages of the book. If you’re less of a fan, you might find the novel pacing a little slow. There’s a lot of detecting and surmising and not a lot of action.
If you’ve ever had a crush on Nick Valentine from Fallout 4, KILLING IS MY BUSINESS is for you. In fact, it was almost impossible not to imagine the books narrated by the same voice actor. There’s the same 1950/60s aesthetic and the same dry delivery of facts. The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, as Ray catches wise to some seedy characters. The immediate stop as Ray recharges his program almost felt disjointed, but readers were prepped for this type of ending throughout the novel. KILLING IS MY BUSINESS was enjoyable from page one. Ray is a fantastic narrator who doesn’t let things like emotions cloud his casework.Series Titles:
- Made to Kill
- Killing Is My Business
For more hard-boiled sci-fi, check out The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon, Altered Carbon (Takeshi Kovacs #1) by Richard K. Morgan or The City & the City by China Miéville