Streets of Payne - Jeff Brackett

*Book source ~ Many thanks to the author for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.


Amber Payne is a Detective with Securi-Tech, a private law enforcement company. In a future where humans can buy body enhancements Amber is still a bit different than your average human. After losing her eyes while on the job, Securi-Tech paid for her ocular implants, but didn’t pay to have them look human. So she has silver eyes. Very disconcerting to those meeting her for the first time. On top of being in debt to Securi-Tech for her sight, she also has to put up with having her ocular feed being available 24/7/365 to the company. She may have exceptional sight, but it’s not really her own.


Fortunately for her, she has a super smart new partner in the shape of Kevin Glass. Kevin is top of the top in any and all things computer and cyberspace. He even has an enhancement, a neural input/output port (NIOP) behind his ear that lets him hook directly into cyperspace just by sliding a gold-plated rod into it and connecting to his custom board. Creepy, but extremely effective.


It just seems to be business as usual when the Chief gives her and Kevin a possible espionage case involving Alta Corp. Little does Amber know this will be the start of something bigger than she could possibly have fathomed. Her whole world is about to be turned sideways and she has to go with the flow or be sucked under.


I can’t tell you how much I love this book. I tend to forget how much I love sci-fi and I don’t read near enough of it. As a fan of Star Trek and all things technological I’m not sure why I don’t read more of it except maybe I just don’t run across the books when I’m trolling for things to read. Or maybe it’s because there is so much out there and not as many people I know who like sci-fi to rec them to me. In any case, I’ve read Jeff Brackett’s post-apocalyptic books and loved them, so when he said he had a sci-fi book out I jumped to read it. And I was hooked from the beginning. I couldn’t read it fast enough and I even stayed up past my bedtime even though I get very cranky when I don’t get enough sleep. I have no better recommendation than that. I love my sleep. I mean really love it. If I stay up late to read then the book is glued to my hands.


Amber’s world is fascinating to me.  People can get enhancements to their body? How cool would that be? Of course, in her world the enhancements are as addictive to some people as plastic surgery is to some today. Many people get them for protection, but some get them for terrorizing and to make committing crimes easier. What’s even cooler, some serious injuries can be repaired fairly quickly in a Doc Box. No more long hospital stays with crappy food or being out of work for ages. Sa-weet!


Sometimes the tech-speak would be a bit beyond me, but that really didn’t slow me down. The mystery was intriguing and twisty, the characters awesome, the plot paced just right and the world was so fascinating I couldn’t put the book down. I had to see what would happen next. The story ends, but there is one thread left hanging leaving the door open for a next book. Make it so!


*I have to add that while I think it’s the coolest thing ever to have a possible (most certainly) villain as my namesake, it in no way affected my opinion of this story. My doppelganger has a small part in the book and I hope to see her in a future book. Especially if she is up to no good and then dies in a spectacular way. I don’t want her in prison. I’m a bit claustrophobic. Hint, hint Jeff.