Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Detecting Ancient Aliens

Great North Road by Peter F. Hamilton

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Summary: New York Times bestselling author Peter F. Hamilton’s riveting new thriller combines the nail-biting suspense of a serial-killer investigation with clear-eyed scientific and social extrapolation to create a future that seems not merely plausible but inevitable.
A century from now, thanks to a technology allowing instantaneous travel across light-years, humanity has solved its energy shortages, cleaned up the environment, and created far-flung colony worlds. The keys to this empire belong to the powerful North family—composed of successive generations of clones. Yet these clones are not identical. For one thing, genetic errors have crept in with each generation. For another, the original three clone “brothers” have gone their separate ways, and the branches of the family are now friendly rivals more than allies.
Or maybe not so friendly. At least that’s what the murder of a North clone in the English city of Newcastle suggests to Detective Sidney Hurst. Sid is a solid investigator who’d like nothing better than to hand off this hot potato of a case. The way he figures it, whether he solves the crime or not, he’ll make enough enemies to ruin his career.
Yet Sid’s case is about to take an unexpected turn: because the circumstances of the murder bear an uncanny resemblance to a killing that took place years ago on the planet St. Libra, where a North clone and his entire household were slaughtered in cold blood. The convicted slayer, Angela Tramelo, has always claimed her innocence. And now it seems she may have been right. Because only the St. Libra killer could have committed the Newcastle crime.
Problem is, Angela also claims that the murderer was an alien monster.
Now Sid must navigate through a Byzantine minefield of competing interests within the police department and the world’s political and economic elite . . . all the while hunting down a brutal killer poised to strike again. And on St. Libra, Angela, newly released from prison, joins a mission to hunt down the elusive alien, only to learn that the line between hunter and hunted is a thin one.

Review: An enjoyable science fiction mystery story with plenty of twists and turns that slogs a bit at times.

I love Peter Hamilton and think he is a great writer. Some of his books I like more than other books. Great North Road is a book that I enjoyed, but didn't love like The Night's Dawn Trilogy. Frankly, I slogged through parts of this book. Luckily, there were a number of exciting parts to make up for it. I think what really killed my enjoyment of this book was how narrow of a focus it had. It mainly focused on two worlds. I read Peter Hamilton for his great space opera with many worlds, sweeping issues, and multitudes of characters. Everything felt so small in this book. 

Hamilton does do a good job of keeping the solution to the mystery from the reader. You get tantalizing hints and are impatient to find out what really happened. The solution to the mystery wasn't as exciting as I would have hoped it to be. A lot of it focused on Angela, whom I really didn't like. I couldn't get a good grasp on her character and found her very unpleasant through most of the novel. The ending was a bit of a let down as well (although Peter Hamilton is not known for his good endings). Despite its faults, I did enjoy this novel.


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy mysteries or science fiction books. 

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