Ex-Kop Mass Market Paperback – 4 Apr 2010
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"* "This hard bitten follow up to Hammond's 2007 science fiction noir debut KOP, set in the 28th century on the technologically backward world of Largarto, offers further evidence of his considerable talents...Koba is touch town full of desperate people, and Hammond makes full use of this richly imagined society." Publishers Weekly, starred review" --Publishers Weekly
About the Author
WARREN HAMMOND lives in Denver, Colorado. "Ex-KOP" is his second novel.
Top customer reviews
Throw in the story's old hack detective and his quest to save an innocent person from being brutally executed and you have one hell of a novel.
In my opinion, Warren Hammond does the SF noir genre better than just about any other writer I've come across. In this and the previous novel, when he describes the heat of the location, you can feel the sweat on your own forehead. When he lets a character die in a pain and suffering (he doesn't take the easy route to a feel good ending in either novel), you can see the blood and scum in your mind's eye.
Be warned though, that this novel is not for the squeamish.
Excellent. 5 Stars for both and I can't wait for the next one.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
More problems started within the first chapter, when Juno dismisses the reactions of a woman at the literal mercy of a sexually sadistic client, castigating her fear--an entirely normal reaction, given what happens--and urging her in his thoughts to "Get a grip". It's the attitude of a man who obviously does not understand why a sex worker would be terrified of a man who, given the state of the society in which they live, could probably kill her and get away with it, and who also happens to transform into an incarnation of Satan while he makes explicit how capable he is of strangling her. It's not a good sign when the opening chapter leaves a foul taste in my mouth.
Workman-like is the highest praise I can offer the prose.There's no sentence that caught my eye, no wordplay that made me appreciate the writing itself. This is a fascinating world, but it's not rendered as well as its setting calls for. Short chapters make the book easy to read through, and the central mystery is mostly engaging enough to carry the narrative. The social structure of the world makes this a mystery that couldn't occur outside its setting, so kudos for that, but so much is left unexplored. The warlords, the outer territories...those potential stories were fascinating, far more than the central plot.
The relationships between characters are rather thinly drawn; the supposed bond between Juno and Maggie was seriously down-played, and Maggie could have played a much more important role than she did. Juno's fraught relationship with Niki painted his character in a rather negative light: his refusal to honor her wishes for his own selfish desires didn't do much to endear him to me. Understandable, maybe, but his boneheaded refusal to even listen to her, and irritation and dismissal of her intense depression dropped him even further in likability. Anti-heroes have to be written well to garner reader sympathy in my case, but the entirety of Juno's character up to that point did little to make me care for or want to like him.
Overall, a miss for me.
The ending of this novel sets the scene for an anticipated third novel in this entertaining series. I look forward to reading it. If you like action and a sense of noir in your sf, you shouldn't miss the KOP books. I would give EX-KOP 4 1/2 stars if Amazon offered that option.
There are so many themes that Hammond plays with here: an aging detective (Juno) who fights the good fight when he can but has made more than his share of bad choices, a younger and more idealistic detective (Maggie) who still believes that Juno has "the right stuff" in him, and a world beset by poverty and crime.
But at the heart of this story, as with KOP, in my view, is the relationship between Juno and Maggie. The book begins with the descent of Juno, and while Maggie may have no other choice than to turn to him, you could look at her attempts as giving him an opportunity to redeem himself.
Hammond's writing is raw and unadorned, and he is much heavier on psychological insight than on flowery passages. People comment frequently on the "noir" aspect of his writing, but I see hope glimmering through as well. I am eager to see where he takes these characters.
A great book!
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